LAKEWOOD, NJ -- Jersey Jack Pinball Inc. said it has entered into an equity partnership with an investment firm identified only as JDA. The up-and-coming pinball machine manufacturer said the partnership will provide means to fund multiple game platforms, allow it to expand into related technologies and markets, and attract "deeper management" resources. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Jersey Jack Pinball's announcement provided little detail about its new partner other than that "JDA has a proven track record of success and generated over $40 million for their shareholders in their last transaction," and that the firm's principals are pinball enthusiasts who own more than 40 machines, including Jersey Jack's The Wizard of Oz.
"We are very excited to combine the strengths of these two dynamic organizations," said Jack Guarnieri, who founded the pinball company in 2011. "The expanded talent, experience and financial strength that this brings will enhance the future products we are able to build and add to the enjoyment of our player base."
Reaction to the news from the pinball community has been mixed, but many fans see the deal as a necessity. (See comments at Pinside.com). At the end of 2009, Stern Pinball Inc. brought in a group of investors led by David J. Peterson, a founder and managing director of Hagerty Peterson & Co. LLC (Barrington, IL). | SEE STORY
PHOTO: Jessie Trueblood (l.), an Indiana-based pinball retailer, catches up with Jack Guarnieri, founder of
Jersey Jack Pinball, at IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando, FL.
Jersey Jack Pinball began shipping the Wizard of Oz flipper game, now in full production, in the second quarter of 2013. At the end of last year, the factory had shipped more than 700 games. Much of the funding for Wizard of Oz development was provided by down payments for preorders. Its next title, The Hobbit, is scheduled to ship at the end of this year.
The Wizard of Oz line consists of various models, including the 75th Anniversary game, the Emerald City edition and a "standard" machine. The latter is targeted at coin machine operators, who represent the smallest number of buyers. The 1,000-unit production run of the Emerald City edition is expected to end soon. The 75th Anniversary model, which pays homage to MGM's 1939 Technicolor classic, recently entered production; about 1,500 units are planned. Once 3,000 WoZ pinball machines are sold, Jersey Jack Pinball can likely say it's a $20 million company.