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Chuck E. Cheese's parent acquires Peter Piper Pizza

Chuck E. Cheese's parent acquires Peter Piper Pizza

CEC Entertainment buys brand from ACON Investments

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent to the Chuck E. Cheese’s entertainment and dining chain, has acquired the 147-unit Peter Piper Pizza chain, the companies said Thursday.

Irving, Texas-based CEC purchased the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Peter Piper brand from Washington, D.C.-based private-equity firm ACON Investments LLC. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

CEC, which was acquired earlier this year by private-equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC in a $1.3 billion deal, owns 522 Chuck E. Cheese’s locations and franchises 55 units.

Peter Piper has 32 company-owned units and 115 franchised locations in the Southwest and Mexico. Both concepts feature games, entertainment and pizza for families.

CEC said in a statement that it “intends to continue the popular Peter Piper brand with operation of the current restaurants, in addition to implementing growth initiatives to expand Peter Piper nationally.”

Tom Leverton, CEC’s chief executive, said: “This transaction complements our strategy of accelerating Chuck E. Cheese's growth nationally and globally, while fulfilling our commitment to provide even greater customer experience to children and families.”

Charles Bruce, Peter Piper’s president and chief executive, added that, “we are confident that Chuck E. Cheese's will uphold the Peter Piper commitment to the families and communities we serve, as well as implement initiatives to expand our brand to new customers.”

Bruce said last month that the company’s franchisees had embraced a new design introduced two years ago. That project, dubbed Peter Piper 2.0, increased unit sales, he said. The concept, founded in 1973, has restaurants as large as 10,000 square feet. Average unit volume is $1.9 million.

Earlier this year, Nation’s Restaurant News named Peter Piper a Next 20 brand for its potential to break into NRN’s annual Top 200 ranking of restaurant chains by U.S. systemwide sales.

In an interview in September, Bruce said the company’s 48 units in Mexico, in addition to those in its core Southwest market, made Peter Piper, “an ideal Hispanic brand.”

The Hispanic demographic remains an attractive one for expansion, Bruce added.

“The Hispanic population is growing at seven times the rate of the rest of the U.S., so we see a big opportunity to serve them,” he said.

Leverton said Peter Piper’s strong engagement with the Hispanic community, as well as its focus on technology, attracted CEC.

“We are eager to build on this foundation and strengthen Peter Piper’s brand by leveraging CEC’s scale, expertise and resources,” Leverton said.

North Point Advisors acted as financial adviser to Peter Piper. Hogan Lovells acted as legal adviser to Peter Piper. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz advised CEC.

CEC has locations in 47 states and 10 nations and territories.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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