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Tue 17th Sep 2019 - Exclusive: Luke Johnson returns to market with All Star Lanes deal
Exclusive – Luke Johnson returns to market with All Star Lanes deal: Serial sector investor Luke Johnson is to return to the market with a deal for boutique bowling alley operator All Star Lanes, Propel has learned. It is understood Johnson’s investment vehicle, Risk Capital, is set to acquire the five-strong business, which was founded in Holborn in 2006, through a pre-pack administration. It would be the first deal in the sector for Johnson since the collapse last year of Patisserie Valerie following the discovery in October of “potentially fraudulent” accounting irregularities, which left a black hole in its finances that turned out to be at least £94m. All Star Lanes was founded by Mark von Westenholz and Adam Breeden, with the latter stepping down from the business in 2012 to focus on his ping pong concept Bounce. Since launching the original venue in Holborn, All Star Lanes, which is currently led by managing director Graham Cook, has opened sites in Westfield Stratford City, Westfield London, Bayswater, Brick Lane and Manchester. The business has reviewed its options a couple of times during the past few years. Previous chief executive Christian Rose left last year after the business, which is backed by a number of high-net-worth individuals, was taken off the market. It was thought at the time that despite interest from private equity and trade players including Hollywood Bowl, All Star Lanes’ backers decided to hold on to the business. Their stance was helped by the sale of its Bayswater site, which closed last April after the group belatedly accepted an offer on the site following the sale of the Whiteleys shopping centre to developers from Brunei several years before. It is understood the sale generated a significant sum for the business, believed to be about £15m, and talks of a sale subsided. Propel understands BDO has recently returned to assessing options for the business.


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