Brown Gibbons Lang & Company (“BGL”) and Livingstone Guarantee (“LG”) today announced the completion of the sale of AMF Bowling Worldwide Inc.’s (“AMF”) UK operations to certain shareholders of Bourne Leisure. Bourne is a leading British leisure company and one of the UK’s largest privately owned businesses.
BGL and LG are the US and UK partners in Global M&A, the world’s most active partnership of investment banking boutiques. This year has been a milestone year for Global M&A, ranking 12th in the Half Year Edition 2004 of mergermarket’s Comprehensive Review of European Mergers & Acquisitions and 17th in the equivalent North American Review for the industrial sector. BGL and LG are co-managing several other cross-border transactions expected to close during 2004.
AMF Bowling Worldwide, Inc., the largest bowling centre operator in the world, was purchased in February 2004 by an affiliate of Code Hennessy & Simmons LLC (“CHS”). Founded in 1988, CHS is a Chicago-based private equity firm that manages approximately $1.6 billion of capital in four funds. CHS focuses on building shareholder value by investing in middle market companies in the manufacturing, distribution, consumer products, and business services sectors.
AMF Bowling UK is the second largest bowling centre business in the United Kingdom, operating 33 bowling centres under the AMF brand. AMF Bowling UK has been part of AMF since it opened its first bowling centre in the UK in the 1960s. However, following a strategic review after CHS’ acquisition of AMF, it was decided that AMF Bowling UK’s prospects could be best exploited by a strategic investor with a focused interest in the growing UK leisure sector.
CHS selected Global M&A partners BGL and LG for their knowledge of the Leisure and Retail market sectors and cross-border transaction expertise. BGL originated and co-marketed the deal. LG led the deal.
“BGL has realized that as the mid market becomes increasingly globalized, there is a growing need to find international solutions that harness the local reach and expertise of individual firms with the international reach of a major global network,” said Scott Lang, Co-Head of BGL. “BGL has once again proven its ability to capture a premium valuation for its client by seamlessly executing a global marketing process for a middle market company with one of its overseas partners, and we are especially pleased to have done so for such an important client – Code Hennessy & Simmons.”
“We knew we needed to hire an investment bank with strong cross-border transaction expertise, sector knowledge and real local expertise,” said Richard Lobo, Partner of CHS. “The existing relationship with BGL and the strength and reputation of LG, their UK partner in Global M&A, tipped the scale in their favor for the engagement. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results and the way that the project has been handled by the two firms.”
“Over the past few years, the leisure sector in the UK has attracted a lot of interest from UK and overseas buyers/investors looking to participate in the consolidation of the sector. We are delighted to have completed the sale of AMF Bowling UK which represents one of the largest transactions in the sector in 2004,” said Simon Cope-Thompson, Partner at Livingstone Guarantee.
Jonathan Seal, Director for LG, adds “The combination of our local expertise, cross-border experience and resource with BGL’s own skills and cross-border expertise provided CHS with a seamless service and enabled us to close the transaction within six months of starting the process.”
AMF Bowling UK will be owned and managed as a separate business but will be able to benefit from the commercial relationships and UK leisure expertise of Bourne Leisure.