International Association for the Leisure and Entertainment Industry, IALEI, International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, IAAPA, trade association, family entertainment center, FEC, location-based entertainment, arcades, coin-operated, coin-op, amusements, amusement park, Dorothy Lewis, Charlie Bray
HERSHEY, PA -- Officials of the International Association for the Leisure and Entertainment Industry, based here, and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (Alexandria, VA) said last week that the two organizations are moving forward with preparations for a potential merger.
At present, IAAPA is continuing its due diligence review of IALEI's documents and financials. Following this review, it's expected that a specific merger plan will be drafted for approval by the boards of both associations. Assuming both boards vote in favor, the proposal will then be submitted to IALEI's general membership for its approval.
Officials said the complexity of this process makes it impossible for the organizations to commit to a specific timeline for completion. Board members from both associations who are working on the merger plan believe the effort will be concluded "by the end of the summer."
It was the first public statement on the proposed merger by IALEI or IAAPA in nearly two months. In recent weeks, in the absence of official information, rumors had begun to circulate among several IALEI board members and industry observers alike that IAAPA might have been cooling toward the merger idea. Statements by leaders of both groups last week appeared to put those concerns to rest.
"We are making progress in the due diligence review for the potential merger with IALEI," said IAAPA president and chief executive Charlie Bray. "IALEI has provided us with more than 1,000 pages of legal documents and our counsel is reviewing those carefully to understand the details and implications of a potential agreement."
Last spring, IALEI leaders said its general membership would be given details of a merger plan by May and would vote on the proposal by month's end. IALEI chair Dorothy Lewis of Fun Station Associates (Danbury, CT) explained on May 15 why the process has gone more slowly than originally projected. "We're working through the merger process in a methodical manner, and we want to make sure we cover all the details," said Lewis. "It simply takes time."
In addition to a longer timeline than originally forecast, the expected procedure for IALEI's membership to register its approval or disapproval of the proposed merger has also changed.
On April 27, IALEI mailed a proxy ballot to all members to explain the voting process and to ask them to vote on a bylaw change that would allow a decision on the merger to take place via mail ballot rather than requiring an in-person meeting and vote.
IALEI members must return the proxy ballots to the association by June 1. Officials said the purpose of the proxy ballot is to make it easier for IALEI members to participate in important decisions, including the potential merger with IAAPA. Voting by mail-in ballot is not an option in the current bylaws, IALEI said.
In other IALEI news, the association has closed its offices in Hershey in favor of a "virtual office" where staff will work from their homes or other locations. The change is described as a money-saving effort. The association's new mailing address is IALEI, Hershey Square #208, 1152 Mae St., Hummelstown, PA 17036. Telephone numbers and email addresses remain unchanged. Visit ialei.org for information.