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Chuck E. Cheese's Sold To Private Equity Firm; Three Shareholders Sue To Stop Sale

Posted On: 2/6/2014

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TAGS: Shareholders sue CEC, pizza-arcade, CEC Entertainment Inc., Chuck E. Cheese's, Apollo Global Management, family entertainment center

DALLAS -- The corporate owner of pizza-arcade chain Chuck E. Cheese's has been gobbled up by a private equity firm for $1.3 billion. New York City-based Apollo Global Management is paying $54 a share in cash for Irvine, TX-based CEC Entertainment Inc. The deal was announced in early January.

CEC and its franchisees operate 577 Chuck E. Cheese's stores in 47 states and 10 foreign countries. The stores serve up pizza, sandwiches and the usual assortment of menu offerings, and operate arcade games, kiddie rides, ticket redemption amusements and other small-site attractions for children. The company has reported a drop in revenue in five of the last seven quarters, but shares of stock were up 33% last year, aided by a 13% increase in the dividend announced in October.

Apollo, which also has offices in Los Angeles, Houston, London, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Singapore, Mumbai and Hong Kong, had assets of $113 billion invested in nine industries as of Sept. 30, 2013. It's run by leverage-buyout pro Leon Black.

Not all shareholders approve of the deal. In late January, three shareholders filed complaints against CEC Entertainment seeking class-action status. The complaints, filed in the district court of Shawnee County, KS, on Jan. 21, are seeking an injunction to prevent the sale of CEC.

According to a regulatory filing, each of the shareholder actions alleges that CEC's directors breached their fiduciary duties to stockholders by, among other things, agreeing to an inadequate tender price, the adoption of a shareholder rights plan and certain provisions in the merger agreement that allegedly make it less likely that the CEC board will be able to consider alternative acquisition proposals.


Dallas Business Journal

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