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CEC Entertainment Inc., the parent company of family-friendly restaurant chain Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza, announced on April 8 it would come back to the New York Stock Exchange following its merger with the publicly traded Leo Holdings.
Leo Holdings, a special-purpose acquisition company, raises money from IPOs and bank financing to acquire private consumer companies and take them public. CEC will change its name to Chuck E. Cheese Brands, Inc. following the completion of the transaction in the second quarter of 2019. Proceeds from the deal will go toward paying down the company’s debt. Company filings as of December 30, 2018, state that CEC had an estimated $978.9 million in outstanding debt, excluding capital lease and sale-leaseback obligations.
Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza are family entertainment and dining venues. Across the U.S., there are 606 Chuck E. Cheese locations across the U.S. and internationally and Peter Piper Pizza has 144 venues in six states and Mexico.
Monday’s deal brings CEC back to the public markets nearly five years after its buyout by Apollo Global Management for about $950 million. Under Apollo’s ownership, CEC invested in its operations, improved its technology systems, remodeled its venues and added adult-friendly games and menu items. CEO Tom Leverton said that continued growth plans include continuing to enhance the guest experience, upgrading restaurants and seeking out appropriate mergers and acquisitions. Apollo will be CEC’s largest shareholder.
Frances Katz is a freelance writer focusing on media, culture and technology. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Week, The Washington Post, USA Today and other publications. She lives in Atlanta.