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Exclusive-Restaurant chain Chuck E. Cheese explores sale-sources

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Exclusive-Restaurant chain Chuck E. Cheese explores sale-sources
December 15, 2023
Abigail Summerville - Reuters

By Abigail Summerville

(Reuters) - Chuck E. Cheese, the U.S. restaurant chain that emerged from bankruptcy three years ago, is exploring a sale amid acquisition interest, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Irving, Texas-based company, known for its arcade games and rat mascot Charles Entertainment "Chuck E." Cheese, is working with investment bank Goldman Sachs on an auction process that could attract private equity firms as well as peers such as Dave & Busters Entertainment, the sources said.

CEC Entertainment, the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese, has told potential acquirers it expects to generate around 1.2 billion in revenue and $195 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) this year, the sources added. Based on the valuation metrics of its peers, the company could fetch well over $1 billion in a sale, according to the sources.

The sources cautioned that no deal is certain and asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential. Goldman Sachs declined to comment. CEC Entertainment and Dave & Busters did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc acquired Chuck E. Cheese in 2014 for $1.3 billion, including debt. The company filed for bankruptcy in June 2020 after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic weighed on its business.

Chuck E. Cheese emerged from bankruptcy in December 2020 after ownership was passed to its creditors, including investment firms Monarch Alternative Capital and Redan Advisors, who agreed to eliminate $705 million in debt from its balance sheet.

The company and its franchisees operate nearly 600 Chuck E. Cheese locations and over 120 Peter Piper Pizza locations globally. It also owns virtual kitchen concept Pasqually's Pizza & Wings.

(Reporting by Abigail Summerville in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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