Ardent Leisure to focus on theme park business after selling bowling division

By Addie Thomes

Dreamworld theme park operator Ardent Leisure has agreed to sell its bowling and entertainment (B&E) arm to The Entertainment and Education Group for $160mn.

Ardent runs numerous Playtime arcades and AMF and Kingpin Bowling centres around the country and is selling up so it can concentrate on its core business of theme parks, which also include SkyPoint and WhiteWater World.

Gary Weiss, Chairman of Ardent, said: “While we are confident that the strategy for B&E will deliver improved earnings, this sale relieves Ardent of the requirement to make the significant further investment needed to support this strategy and provides Ardent with increased flexibility to continue the expansion of Main Event and the reinvigoration of Theme Parks.”


Completion of the transaction is expected to occur in the first half of 2018 and remains subject to obtaining landlord consents under certain material leases and the consent of Ardent’s lenders.

Ardent has been diversifying its entertainment centres into multi-entertainment venues that offer more than bowling, and the company says this sale will deliver a quickfire return on that investment.

It will still develop its Main Event Entertainment centres, as Weiss explained: “There is potential for significant earnings growth in both Main Event and Theme Parks. In Main Event, we are progressing the search for a CEO and have introduced relevant sector experience at Board level. With additional financial flexibility, we will be in a good position to focus on driving constant centre revenue growth and accelerating our roll-out of Main Event Entertainment centres.

"In Theme Parks our goal is to reinvigorate customer attendance through the introduction of new attractions and further expanding our strategic partnerships, as well as continuing to explore opportunities to develop our surplus land.”

Ardent is seeking to restore its reputation after the death of four visitors to its theme park on the Gold Coast last year.


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