Oak Hill Buying Dave & Buster’s from Wellspring Capital

[UPDATE: The deal has been formally announced. Press release follows story

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Oak Hill Capital Partners plans to acquire Dave & Buster’s Inc for $570 million from Wellspring Capital Management, according to The Wall Street Journal.The chain, which combines restaurants with video games arcades, had been taken private in 2006 by Wellspring for about $257 million in cash plus debt, the newspaper reported in its online edition.The weak market for publicly traded restaurant stocks led Wellspring to sell the chain to Oak Hill instead of pursuing an initial public offering, the newspaper reported.

Founded in 1982, Dallas-based Dave & Buster’s operates 56 locations across 24 states.

Wellspring is expected to earn roughly three times its original investment on the sale, the newspaper said.

Oak Hill and Wellspring could not be immediately reached for comment. (Reporting by Jessica Hall)


Dave & Buster’s, Inc. (“Dave & Buster’s”) announced today that Oak Hill Capital Partners (“Oak Hill Capital”), a leading private equity firm, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Dave & Buster’s from Wellspring Capital Management, LLC (“Wellspring”).  Oak Hill Capital is investing in partnership with Dave & Buster’s current management team, led by CEO Steve King.  The aggregate value of the transaction is approximately $570 million. 


Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Dave & Buster’s is the premier owner and operator of 56 high-volume restaurant/entertainment venues that provide customers with the unique opportunity to “Eat, Drink & Play®” all in one location.  Dave & Buster’s offers a full menu of high quality food and beverage items combined with an extensive assortment of entertainment attractions, including state-of-the-art video games, interactive simulators and other games of skill.  Dave & Buster’s currently has stores in 24 states and Canada.


Steve King, CEO of Dave & Buster’s, said, “We have thoroughly enjoyed our partnership with Wellspring and thank the firm for its support.  We are very excited to partner with Oak Hill Capital given its extensive experience investing in consumer, retail and restaurant companies, as well as its long history of working successfully with management teams.  We believe Oak Hill Capital will be a value-added partner that will help Dave & Buster’s execute against its strategy of continuing to build its brand and expand its store base.”  


Tyler Wolfram, a Partner at Oak Hill Capital, said, “Dave & Buster’s is a category defining concept that offers its customers a unique interactive entertainment and dining experience in a lively setting.  We believe there is a tremendous opportunity to grow the Dave & Buster’s store base given its differentiated format, the strength of its brand and the meaningful number of untapped markets across North America and beyond.  We look forward to working closely with Steve and the rest of the company’s management team to capitalize on these growth opportunities.”


Greg S. Feldman, Managing Partner of Wellspring, said, “We are very pleased by the growth and financial performance of Dave & Buster’s since we acquired the company in 2006.  This has been a very successful investment for our firm and the company is well-positioned for the future, both domestically and internationally.  We thank Steve King, his management team and all Dave & Buster’s employees for their great work and wish them continued success.”


Completion of the transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, is expected in the second quarter of 2010. 


Jefferies & Company, Inc. acted as sole financial advisor to Dave & Buster’s and J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. acted as sole financial advisor to Oak Hill Capital in the transaction.  The transaction has fully committed financing, consisting of debt financing to be provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., an affiliate of J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., and Jefferies & Company, Inc.  J.P. Morgan Securities Inc. will act along with Jefferies & Company, Inc. as Joint Lead Arranger and Bookrunner for such financing.  Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is serving as legal counsel to Wellspring Capital and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is serving as legal counsel to Oak Hill Capital. 


About Dave & Buster’s, Inc.


Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Dave & Buster’s is the premier national owner and operator of 56 high-volume venues that offer interactive entertainment options for adults and families, such as skill/sports-oriented redemption games and technologically advanced video and simulation games, combined with a full menu of high quality food and beverages.  Dave & Buster’s currently has stores in 24 states and Canada.  For additional information on Dave & Buster’s, please visit www.daveandbusters.com or call (214) 357-9588.


About Oak Hill Capital Partners


Oak Hill Capital Partners is a private equity firm with more than $8.4 billion of committed capital from leading entrepreneurs, endowments, foundations, corporations, pension funds and global financial institutions.  Robert M. Bass is the lead investor.  Over a period of more than 24 years, the professionals at Oak Hill Capital Partners and its predecessors have invested in more than 60 significant private equity transactions.  Oak Hill Capital Partners is one of several Oak Hill partnerships, each of which has a dedicated and independent management team.  These Oak Hill partnerships comprise over $30 billion of investment capital across multiple asset classes.  For more information about Oak Hill Capital Partners, visit www.oakhillcapital.com.


About Wellspring Capital Management


Wellspring Capital Management, founded in 1995, is a leading middle-market private equity firm that manages more than $2 billion of private equity capital.  The firm’s objective is to bring partnership, experience and value creation to each investment.  By teaming up with strong management, Wellspring is able to unlock underlying value and pursue new growth opportunities through strategic initiatives, operating improvements and add-on acquisitions.  The firm functions as a strategic rather than tactical partner, providing management teams with top-line support, M&A experience and financial expertise, and access to resources.