Main Event Entertainment, Inc. announced that Ardent Leisure Group Limited and RedBird Capital Partners have entered into an agreement with Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc. to acquire Main Event. Upon closing of the transaction, Main Event’s current Chief Executive Officer Chris Morris will be named Chief Executive Officer of Dave & Buster’s.
Main Event is one of the fastest-growing family entertainment brands in the country, with 50 operating locations nationwide. Main Event offers bowling, laser tag, hundreds of arcade games and virtual reality.
“We are thrilled to join the Dave & Buster’s family,” said Morris. “We will undoubtedly benefit from the collective expertise and strong culture of both brands, particularly as we continue to accelerate Main Event’s aggressive expansion plans.”
The transaction represents a total enterprise value of $835 million and is projected to close later this year, with specific timing subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Ardent Leisure shareholders and the expiration of the waiting period under the HSR Act. The acquisition hopes to merge two brands that target uniquely different demographics and enhance the breadth of offerings and experiences to each brand’s guests. Main Event will continue to operate as a distinct brand serving families of all ages under Dave & Buster’s.
Dr. Gary Weiss, Chairman of Ardent Leisure, said, “Ardent Leisure has partnered with the Main Event brand since 2006 as the company has grown from its Dallas foundations to 50 locations nationwide today. We are particularly proud of our significant involvement in the rejuvenation of Main Event over the last four years and this transaction reflects the culmination of significant value creation that has been achieved by Ardent Leisure and the Main Event management team over this time.”
Gerry Cardinale, Managing Partner of RedBird, said “The transaction with Dave & Buster’s is a great outcome for Ardent Leisure and for Main Event. We have valued our partnership with Gary Weiss and the Ardent Leisure team as they have worked to create value for shareholders. Our Dallas team worked closely with the Main Event leadership team over the last two years and we are exceptionally pleased that Chris Morris will be appointed CEO of Dave & Buster’s when the transaction is completed. We look forward to their continued growth and success as a combined company.”
Upon closing, the combined company will be led by Morris and will create enhanced synergy and unique opportunity of growth for both brands. Morris joined Main Event in 2018 and brought more than 20 years of experience with multisite businesses, including over six years in the family entertainment business. Over Morris’ four-year tenure with the brand, Main Event has expanded its center footprint by over 30% and more than doubled EBITDA.
“During my tenure with the brand, I have experienced firsthand the fantastic mission and enormous potential Main Event offers and see this as a transformational opportunity to further strengthen the brand,” said Morris, adding, “I’m looking forward to enhancing the offerings and experiences of each brand and providing even more opportunity for our team members. Main Event is a perfect complement to Dave & Buster’s, and I feel very honored to lead the growth of both brands.”
“As we have come to know Chris Morris, we have been very impressed by his execution capabilities and focus on profitable growth,” said Kevin Sheehan, Dave & Buster’s Board Chair and Interim Chief Executive Officer. “Chris is a proven and successful transformational leader who is capable of taking the combined organization to the next level. It is clear Main Event has a strong culture that shares many values in common with our own. We very much look forward to joining these two great teams together.”
Sheehan will return to his role as Board Chair following the completion of the acquisition.