As emerging eatertaiment brand Lucky Strike enters its next phase of growth, it will have a party familiar with the space backing it. Wellspring Capital Management LLC, which bought Dave & Buster’s for $375 million in 2006 before selling it four years later, announced it closed the acquisition of the 21-unit brand. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Wellspring has a long history of partnering with founders like Steven Foster and Kevin Troy who have redefined their industries and are poised for incredible growth. Although a nationally known player today, Lucky Strike still has a large whitespace opportunity,” said Alex Carles, a managing partner at Wellspring, in a statement.
Wellspring dealt category front-runner Dave & Buster’s to Oak Hill Capital Partners for $570 million in 2010. There were 46 units when Wellspring announced it was buying the brand in 2005 and 56 when it sold it to Oak Hill (there are 125 today). The brand was then sold to the public in 2014 and remains a publicly traded company. It just reported same-store sales gains of 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter—its first positive period in six quarters.
Wellspring also bought fast-food company Checkers & Rally’s in 2006 for an estimated $188 million. It sold the brand to Sentinel Capital in March 2014 for an undisclosed amount. Oak Hill purchased Checkers and Rally’s for roughly $525 million in March 2017.
Sherman Oaks, California-based Lucky Strike’s 21 venues are spread across 12 states (Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Arizona, Wisconsin, Texas, Ohio, Colorado) and Washington, D.C. It’s known for premium bowling lanes, live music, and an assortment of high-tech games. The brand aims to combined dining, nightlife, and interaction into one. It was founded in 2003 by Foster and Troy. Foster was featured on a 2010 episode of CBS’ Undercover Boss and started Spinoff, an upscale roller disco, in the late 1970s.
“We are very pleased that Wellspring has invested in Lucky Strike given the firm’s prior successes supporting businesses in our space and many others,” Foster said in a statement. We are extremely proud of what the brand has accomplished since our founding and look forward to accelerating our growth trajectory alongside Wellspring.”
Added Matthew Harrison, a partner at Wellspring: “Lucky Strike represents an exciting opportunity to build on Wellspring’s successful track record in the restaurant and entertainment sectors. The company has built an impressive brand in experiential retail, a standout area of growth within a dramatically shifting retail landscape. Wellspring’s experience in this space through investments such as Dave & Buster’s position us to be value-add partners to Steven, Kevin, and the rest of the Lucky Strike team.”