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Bowlmor AMF CEO: No reason to change Brunswick’s ‘well-run’ bowling operations

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It’ll be bowling as usual at Brunswick Corp.’s bowling centers.

That was the message delivered Wednesday by Bowlmor AMF Chief Executive, Chairman and President Tom Shannon in an interview with examiner.com.

Last week, Lake Forest, Ill.-based Brunswick announced that it was selling its 85 bowling centers in the U.S and Canada to Bowlmor AMF for $270 million. Brunswick said it was an attractive, unsolicited offer.

Only a year ago, Bowlmor – with its six upscale bowling centers – captivated the bowling industry when it announced that it was buying Virginia-based AMF Bowling Worldwide, Inc. AMF had filed for Chapter 11 in November, 2012 – the second time that it had declared bankruptcy in 10 years.

“We don’t have any changes planned,” said Shannon about taking over the Brunswick properties. “We’re not changing the hours of operation or prices. Many people were concerned we’d do what we did with AMF and that’s not the case.

“AMF needed a turnaround. They had a lot of difficulties over the years. Brunswick’s just the opposite. It’s a stable, well-run company. We’re going to preserve it just like it is.”

Shannon said his company plowed $35 million back into AMF’s bowling centers the past fiscal year to improve the product and has plans to invest another $45 million in the coming year.

Shannon, who a few weeks ago visited AMF Woodlake Lanes in Woodland Hills and bowled a 197, said Brunswick’s name will be retained at its bowling houses and that Brunswick’s bowling centers are profitable.

“One reason we’re buying it is that the bowling’s quite nice there,” he said. “They have really outperformed their industry in terms of revenue. It’s a quality product. People don’t go to shabby places. People go only to nice places.”

Shannon expects that the takeover of Brunswick’s bowling centers will be completed by Labor Day.

On another topic, Shannon said that Bowlmor AMF is “completely committed” to league bowling.

“I think people have a misperception that they think we’re anti-league,” he said. “That’s not the case at all. We’ve made changes to AMF to make it viable and make it survive and it impacted the customer.

“For people to be worried about us taking Brunswick and making a Bowlmor model, nothing could be further from the truth.”

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