You won't have shares of AMF Bowling Worldwide (NASDAQ:ABWI) to knock around like duckpins anymore. On Friday afternoon, the bowling alley operator and pool table maker said it's gone private. Chicago's Code Hennessy & Simmons paid AMF investors $25 per share in cash, or a total of $670 million, for the company.

AMF has been around for a while. Formed in 1900, it wasn't until the late 1930s that it hired the inventor of the pinspotter to develop his idea. But its recent years have been, well, spotty. As recently as early 2002, for example, the company was still under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Since then, the shares have actually beaten the S&P 500 -- though they've taken some remarkable swings in doing so.

One presumes that Code Hennessy & Simmons has a pretty good plan for avoiding the sort of problems that have dogged AMF in recent years. While it has a well-established brand worldwide, it's also been dogged by debt and operating expenses and has had trouble making money lately. No doubt the acquirer will continue some efforts begun by AMF, which includes the shuttering of underperforming bowling centers.

But, unless the private equity firm eventually decides to take the company public again, all this is now largely irrelevant for most folks who aren't bowlers, AMF employees, or private equity firms.

Going private is often the best option for companies with valued assets that have trouble maintaining investor support for one reason or another. Some of the best brands around -- M&M Mars, Domino's Pizza, and Hallmark are just a few -- have never seen their shares traded on the open market. (Selena Maranjian's take on the key differences between public and private companies has more.) The ability to operate without the market's scrutiny can be a boon.

In recent months we've seen New York drugstore chain Duane Reade (NYSE:DRD) announce plans to go private. On Friday insurance holding company Seibels Bruce said it intends to do the same. And egg producer Cal-Maine Foods (NASDAQ:CALM) was all set to do so before the market's unexpected attention made the CEO change his mind in November.

One hopes a better future lies ahead for AMF, a venerable company.

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Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this story. He can be reached via email.