Bowlero in Merger Talks With SPAC Led by Ex-WWE Executives

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Bowlero Corp., an operator of bowling centers that sometimes include full-service bars and arcade games, is in talks to go public through a merger with blank-check firm Isos Acquisition Corp., according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Isos is in discussions to raise new equity to support a transaction that’s set to value the combined entity at about $2.6 billion, said the people. Terms aren’t finalized and it’s possible talks could collapse. Isos shares surged as much as 4.2% after Bloomberg News reported the talks.

Representatives for Bowlero and Isos declined to comment.

Bowlero, led by Chief Executive Officer Tom Shannon, operates centers under its own name as well as the AMF and Bowlmor Lanes brands. The New York-based company has more than 12,000 lanes at more than 300 venues that are visited by more than 28 million customers annually, according to its website. Bowlero also has owned the Professional Bowlers Association membership program since 2019. In March, the company announced a partnership to distribute BettorView content across its centers in states where online betting is legal, and in May Bowlero agreed to buy Bowl America Inc., an owner of 17 centers in Florida, Maryland and Virginia.

Bowlero has at least $870 million in debt, data compiled by Bloomberg show. “Performance is projected to improve more rapidly during the second half of 2021 as a vaccine becomes more widely disseminated with operating results approaching historical levels during 2022,” Moody’s Investors Service wrote in a December note.

Isos is led by co-CEOs George Barrios and Michelle Wilson, both former WWE Inc. executives. The Westport, Connecticut-based special purpose acquisition company raised about $255 million in a March initial public offering and said it would focus on the global media and entertainment sectors, as well as adjacent businesses.

Companies set to benefit from a removal of Covid-19 restrictions are taking steps toward public-market debuts. Vivid Seats, a digital ticketing marketplace, in April agreed to go public via a SPAC merger, while F45 Training Holdings Inc., which operates fitness studios, this week filed for an initial public offering.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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