ARDENT SEIZES CHANCE TO SELL BOWLING AND ENTERTAINMENT DIVISION

ARDENT SEIZES CHANCE TO SELL BOWLING AND ENTERTAINMENT DIVISION

ARDENT Leisure has announced that it will sell its bowling and entertainment (B&E) division to The Entertainment and Education Group (TEEG), the company responsible for Timezone, for $160 million.

The sale will take place on a debt and cash free basis, and will involve Ardent's Australasian assets AMF Bowling, Kingpin bowling lounges and Playtime arcades.

Although the sale was unsolicited by Ardent, the company says it is an ideal opportunity to support the growth of its Main Event and Theme Parks divisions, including Gold Coast attractions Dreamworld and WhiteWater World.

On completion of the sale Ardent expects to be in a net cash position, and chairman of Ardent Dr Gary Weiss says the company will be able to focus on its most profitable areas.

"Following an unsolicited offer from TEEG, the decision to divest B&E reflects the attractive price offered and our focus on investing our capital in areas where we can earn the most attractive returns," says Weiss.

"This sale relieves Ardent of the requirement to make the significant further investment needed to support [the strategy for B&E] and provides ardent with increased flexibility to continue the expansion of Main Event and the reinvigoration of Theme Parks."

One of Ardent's main goals is to build back up its theme parks customer base, as the company continues to recover from the Dreamworld tragedy which claimed the lives of four just over a year ago.

Ardent plans to introduce new attractions and expand its partnerships in order to support both its international and domestic customer base.

"In Theme Parks our goal is to reinvigorate customer attendance through the introduction of new attractions and further expanding our strategic partnerships, as well as continuing to explore opportunities to develop our surplus land," says Weiss.

"Supported by the ongoing growth in domestic and international visitors to the Gold Coast and pending the development of large scale infrastructure in the nearby Coomera Town Centre, we believe this reinvestment will result in a material increase in earnings over time."

Completion of the B&E sale is expected to occur in the first half of 2018 and remains subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions.

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