That Apollo, which has backed Chuck E. Cheese since 2014, would find plenty of private equity interest in the company is hardly a surprise. Last year, investors completed 181 PE transactions in the restaurants and bars sector, according to the PitchBook Platform, representing a five-year high. Most notably, that number is nearly double the deal count from two years before, in 2014, when investors completed just 91 private equity deals.
This year has brought 37 finalized investments in the space so far, per PitchBook data, a sample that includes what’s so far a striking geographical shift. More than 57% of the companies in the restaurants and bars space targeted by PE investment this year are based in Europe compared to 34% in the US; those would clearly be the highest and lowest such figures of the past six years, respectively, surpassing previous marks of 45% and 39%, both set in 2015.