You won't have Dave & Buster's -- formerly listed on the NYSE under ticker symbol DAB -- to kick around as a publicly traded entity anymore. The company behind 46 gargantuan indoor destinations, which blend casual dining with high-tech arcade machines and old-fashioned games, was finally taken private last night by an affiliate of Wellspring Capital, a private equity firm, at $18.05 a stub.
The company was originally set to go private four years ago at $12 a share, but holding out rewarded it with a 50% premium and healthier fundamentals as a stand-alone company.
It's a happy ending for a company that seemed to be coasting in the mid-1990s, when it was spun off by troubled mall retailer Edison Brothers. Then came one fateful day in the summer of 1999, when the company tripped and saw its shares nearly halved.
Dave & Buster's never approached those 1999 highs again. After the debacle, it lost its credibility as a high-octane growth stock. That may have been the best thing to happen to the company, allowing it to concentrate on perfecting its established locations instead of expanding at a frenetic pace to please growth investors.
Despite the tasty eats and ever-changing landscape of video games, D&B fell into the same rut that doomed themed restaurant chains like Planet Hollywood and Country Star Cafe. Folks would flock to the establishments after they opened, but comps in the second year of a store would fall dramatically. Unlike restaurant chains that maintained their popularity with perpetually growing comps, like Cheesecake Factory
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So I'll raise a Shirley Temple toast to D&B. Here's hoping it fares better out of the public spotlight.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz likes having two Dave & Buster's within a 30-mile drive of his house. He owns shares in Cheesecake Factory but holds no financial position in any other stocks mentioned. Rick is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out tomorrow's great growth stocks today. The Fool has a disclosure policy .