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Issue Date: Vol. 50, No. 6, June 2010, Posted On: 6/12/2010

Dave & Buster's Changes Hands, Settles FTC Charges

Marcus Webb
Dave & Buster's, Oak Hill Capital Partners, Wellspring Capital Management, Steve Hill, family entertainment center, Alberto Gonzalez, Dave & Buster's credit card fraud settlement, amusement industry

DALLAS -- Dave & Buster's Inc., headquartered here, and Oak Hill Capital Partners closed on a deal in early June to buy the restaurant and entertainment chain from Wellspring Capital Management LLC. The acquisition, announced in May, was led by D&B's management team and chief executive Steve Hill. See story.

D&B's and Oak Hill obtained $200 million in loans to finance the acquisition as a leveraged buyout. The buyers plan to use a five-year $50 million revolving credit line and a six-year $150 million term loan.

Oak Hill is an $8.4 billion private equity firm led by Fort Worth, TX, philanthropist Robert Bass. Associated entities control over $30 billion in investments. Founded in 1982, D&B's owns and operates 57 stores in 24 states and Canada under the names Dave & Buster's, Dave & Buster's Grand Sports Café and Jillian's.

Separately, the Federal Trade Commission said it has approved a final settlement with D&B's, resolving charges the company failed to secure customers' sensitive credit card and debit card information, resulting in several hundred thousand dollars in fraudulent charges. D&B's was hacked in mid-2007 by an intruder who installed unauthorized software to intercept data sent from the restaurants to credit card processing companies.

A nationwide hacking conspiracy that targeted the entertainment chain, Office Max and two other retailers resulted in what federal officials called the "unparalleled" theft of millions of credit card numbers. Banks that covered the money stolen from the cards lost more than $600,000 across the four retail chains. On March 24, Alberto Gonzalez, 28, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to two concurrent 20-year stints in federal prison for his part in the scheme. Authorities said Gonzalez was the mastermind behind the hacking conspiracy. See earlier story.

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