Exclusive: Restaurant chain Dave & Buster's explores IPO or sale - sources

NEW YORK Fri Dec 13, 2013 1:07pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Restaurant and arcade chain Dave & Buster's Inc is exploring a sale or initial public offering that could value the company at more than $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Dallas-based operator of restaurants with games for grown-ups, which scrapped plans to go public in October 2012, is working with Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Jefferies on the potential sale, the sources said.

Dave & Buster's, owned by private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners, was targeting earnings of nearly $130 million in fiscal 2013 before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to a company filing.

The company may fetch 8 to 9 times that figure in a sale, one of the sources said. The sources asked not to be named because the matter is private.

Oak Hill acquired Dave & Buster's for $570 million in May 2010.

Dave & Buster's, Goldman, Jefferies and Oak Hill declined to comment.

Founded in 1982, Dave & Buster's is an owner and operator of 65 venues that offer entertainment for adults and families such as sports-oriented, video and simulation games. The venues also serve food and beverages.

Dave & Buster's is the latest in a string of restaurant chains that are trying to go public or sell themselves as market valuations for the sector continue to rise.

CKE, the restaurant group that owns the Carl's Jr and Hardees chains, sold to buyout firm Roark Capital in November for between $1.65 billion and $1.75 billion.

Hospitality firm Carlson is attempting to sell its TGI Fridays business, while Ruby Tuesday Inc (RT.N) is also on the block, sources familiar with the matter have said.

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim and Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by John Wallace)

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