Adam Hodges, | Chief Executive Officer at Playnation
Adam Hodges | Chief Executive Officer at Playnation

Dow Schofield Watts Transaction Services undertook the financial due diligence project for Runcorn based, Playnation, on their acquisition of Funhouse Leisure.  This was the first time Dow Schofield Watts Transaction Services had worked for Playnation, however they do have a successful track record of working with their private equity backers, Palatine Private Equity.

Playnation, which provides its machines to holiday parks, motorway services, bowling centres and airports, snapped up Funhouse Leisure (FHL) for its first acquisition.

The Runcorn-headquartered business was established in 2013 following a management buyout backed by Palatine Private Equity.

Birmingham-based FHL was founded 18 years ago and is a specialist operator of prize and vending equipment.

It operates more than 1,600 family focused machines in the hospitality and leisure sector with key customers including Whitbread, Spirit Pub Company, Orchid, Greene King and Odeon.

Adam Hodges, Playnation chief executive, said the deal will allow FHL to capitalise on Playnation’s scale and size while enabling it to continue to operate as a single business.

He said: “2014 has been a great year for us and we have worked hard to find the right company for our first acquisition.

“FHL has a great team and is a well-established operator with a customer base that is complimentary to our own. We are confident it will expand our reach in the family focused leisure sector.”

In recent months, Playnation has enjoyed a number of new contract wins and extensions, which include providing machines to 35 Welcome Break sites across the UK, as well as supplying to Bowlplex and over 300 machines to Bunn Leisure, the award winning holiday company.

FHL chief executive Nasser Ghanchi said: “We’ve known the Playnation management team for a long time and believe that the FHL business will flourish under its new ownership.

“Playnation’s national service support operation and its central commercial functions can only build and improve on the great service that we currently provide to our customers in the hospitality and leisure sector. We are looking forward to an exciting year ahead.”

Beth Houghton, non-executive director at Playnation and investment director at Palatine Private Equity, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Playnation in this acquisition.

“FHL complements and enhances Playnation’s offering in the family entertainment sector and will also enable us to tap into the family pub market. We look forward to working with the team at FHL to develop this new opportunity.”