Ardent leisure sells stake in Main Event

Australian-based leisure company Ardent Leisure, which owns and operates a leisure portfolio of over 100 assets across Australia, New Zealand and the US, is selling a 24.2 per cent stake in its US-based chain of bowling and family entertainment arcades to private equity firm Redbird Capital Partners for $US80 million ($A117 million).

Redbird has an option to acquire an additional 26.8 per cent interest in Main Event Entertainment from between July 2022 and July 2024, for nine times pro forma earnings.

The money will be used exclusively to support Main Event, Ardent Leisure said. 

Ardent chairman Gary Weiss said the partnership “provides a value-added strategic partner who can help drive the company’s growth and expansion plans in the United States”.

Two Red Bird partners will get seats on the company’s board.

Ardent Leisure, which is best known for its operation of the Dreamworld theme park and the WhiteWater World water park on Australia’s Gold Coast, has revealed that 28 of Main Event’s 44 family entertainment centres have reopened after all were closed during the COVID-19 lockdowns. According to Ardent Leisure, trading had been increasing and several centres were near or above break-even level.

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