Brunswick sells bowling centers

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Brunswick Corp. will sell its retail bowling centers to Bowlmor AMF for $270 million.

Lake Forest-based Brunswick said it also intends to get out of the business of making bowling balls and related products. It has hired Lazard to find a buyer for its bowling products unit.

The company will keep its billiards business.

Brunswick chairman and CEO Dustan E. McCoy said the company sees better growth opportunities in its marine and fitness businesses, which accounted for 92 percent of the company’s net revenue in 2013.

“The bowling industry has been evolving as center counts decline and the customer mix shifts from predominately league bowling to casual bowlers seeking an entertainment-oriented experience,” McCoy said. “It would take continual development of new entertainment concepts and significant additional investment to implement these new concepts at new properties or to convert existing centers.”

Bowlmor AMF, created through a merger last year, said it will operate the 85 Brunswick bowling centers as a separate business. Brunwick’s bowling centers, which had $187 million in revenue last year, operate under the Brunswick Bowling, Brunswick Zone, Brunswick Zone XL and Brunswick’s brand names. The companies hope to complete the sale in 90 days.

The combined company will have 343 bowling centers, 9,000 employees and annual revenue of about $600 million.

“We embrace bowling as an entertainment experience and are focused on elevating bowling as a category, bringing it back into popular culture as well as furthering our commitment to league play. This acquisition will provide us with a strategic foothold in a number of additional markets,” Bowlmor AMF chief Tom Shannon said in a news release.

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