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Comcast-Backed Atairos Unit Rolls a New Investment

Atairos, an independent investment firm backed by Comcast focused on growth-oriented businesses, announced this week it’s to acquire a “substantial ownership position” in Bowlmor AMF from a group of previous investors led by Cerberus Capital Management.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but they said J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse have provided fully committed financing for the transaction. Credit Suisse served as financial advisor to Bowlmor and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as financial advisor to Atairos.

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Tied to the deal, Bowlmor CEO Thomas Shannon will maintain his significant investment in the bowling and entertainment franchise, which has grown from six centers in 2013 to more than 300 (295 in the U.S., seven in Mexico and three locations in  Canada) under brands that include The Bowlmor, Bowlero, and Brunswick Zone XL, among others.  

Atairos launched in 2016 with more than $4 billion in committed capital. The investment company, led by former Comcast CFO Michael Angelakis, has also invested in Groupon Inc., Learfield (integrated marketing solutions for college sports), Orogen Group (a private company that focuses on the financial services industry), TriNet (human resources for small/mid-sized businesses), and Virtusa Corp. (IT consulting and outsourcing).

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“We acquired and revitalized the AMF Bowling and Brunswick Bowling chains through extensive operational improvements and by introducing Bowlmor’s innovative sporting and entertainment experience to a national audience.” Shannon said in a statement. “Atairos is the ideal partner for Bowlmor as we embark on the next phase of our growth and development.”

"This is an exciting opportunity for Atairos to invest in the growing out-of-home entertainment market by partnering with a proven entrepreneur in Tom Shannon who has built the leading bowling franchise in North America, with terrific brands and unmatched scale,” Angelakis added. “At a time when consumers are seeking unique and authentic experiences, Bowlmor’s highly differentiated and compelling offering has been enormously successful. With a proven, scalable platform and a highly talented management team, we believe there’s great potential for continuing growth through execution of the business plan as well as related acquisitions.”