Bandai Namco Holdings announced March 1 that it was selling its North American amusement facilities to three different buyers. Said Dan Anelli, Bandai Namco Amusement America (BNAA) & Namco USA CFO, “We agreed to sell all the assets associated with the locations to three parties. I won’t name them as all the deals are still pending, but all three are scheduled to close towards the end of this month [March] and we expect no interruption with our operations.”
The approximately 50 locations involved include Pac-Man Zone, Pac-Man Café and Pac-Man Entertainment locations, as well as those still flying under older brands like Time-Out and Cyberstation.
Prior to the location closures caused by the pandemic, moving out of game room operations was “never on the radar,” explained Anelli. “We had significant investment as recently as 2019 when we opened up the brand-new Pac-Man Zones. In fact, there was one Pac-Man Zone in California (Redondo Beach) that never officially got to have a grand opening.
“The pandemic hit us particularly hard due to the concentration of our stores in California, New York and Illinois,” he added. The resulting financial stresses precipitated the decision which seeks to reduce fixed costs and streamline operations.
Anelli said, “All of the transactions were constructed in a way to set up the new operators for success, a certain level of commitment for them to continue to operate all of those locations going forward and, as a supplier, we certainly count on being able to supply some of these operations with new equipment going forward.
“One thing we value, and are very thankful for, is our employees and we are doing our best to transition them along with the deal so there will be same great customer service going forward. We really do wish them the best of success,” Anelli concluded.
He said, “Namco USA as a company will also continue to exist and its commitment to the industry is still there as we continue to service games for amusement operators as well.
John McKenzie, Managing Director of Bandai Namco Amusement Europe Ltd. and BNAA President & CEO said, “BNAA is a very successful company and continues with its business of R&D, supply of coin-op amusements and rec room games, and software as usual. In addition, we are also looking forward to announcing the release of new titles and ventures at the next major trade show. BNAA is getting bigger!”
As for specifics on new Bandai Namco games distributors and operators can expect to see at the coming Amusement Expo, the execs were tight-lipped. You’ll just have to go to Las Vegas and see for yourselves.