SBD/November 14, 2012/Finance

AMF Bowling Files For Bankruptcy Protection, Expecting To Emerge Within Five Months

AMF Bowling, the world's largest operator of bowling alleys, filed for bankruptcy-court protection yesterday “after being squeezed by a cash crunch and failing to find a buyer for its business,” according to Jacqueline Palank of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The filing “marks AMF's second trip through bankruptcy since 2001.” The company, which “employs 7,000 people, has struggled with both a heavy debt load and a shift in the sport.” AMF “operates 262 bowling centers in the U.S." Small chains and "mom-and-pop operators now dominate the industry, which includes more than 5,000 bowling alleys.” Facing what the company said were "unmanageable" debt levels, AMF “began searching for a buyer last year.” After an “unsuccessful hunt, it instead began reaching out to creditors to discuss a restructuring.” The deal, which “will be subject to bankruptcy-court approval, calls for AMF to exit Chapter 11 under the ownership of its senior lenders, subject to rival bids at a court-overseen auction." AMF said that it “expects to emerge from bankruptcy protection within the next five months” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/14). AMF said that “membership of bowling leagues -- once the bread and butter of the business -- has fallen by 36% in the last 15 years” (WSJ.com, 11/13).
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