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Now you can invest in the future of bowling

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2-min read
In this article:
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Bowlero founder Tom Shannon conceded it was by chance he got into the business of bowling.

"I had moved to New York City after business school and a girl invited me to her friend's birthday party. I went to the original Bowlmor Lanes in Greenwich Village. I looked around and said wow. I always loved to bowl as a kid, I thought bowling alleys were cool but they were pretty rundown. And Bowlmor in Union Square was a great example of that. It literally had no investment in decades. I bought it, and I reinvested in it," Shannon said on Yahoo Finance Live.

As of Thursday, Shannon is REALLY in the business of bowling.

The country’s biggest pure play bowling center Bowlero went public Thursday after merging with a SPAC called ISOS Acquisition Corp., which was launched by former WWE top executives George Barrios and Michelle Wilson.

The SPAC's transaction with Bowlero values the company at $2.6 billion.

WESTCHESTER, CA - APRIL 06: Bryce Henderson, 11 right, celebrates a missed roll after heckling his sister, Jaylin, 16, during a competitive game at Bowlero Los Angeles bowling alley in Westchester on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. The center saw customers again after being closed for a year. Safety protocols include facemasks, plexiglass dividers between stations and 25 percent capacity. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
WESTCHESTER, CA - APRIL 06: Bryce Henderson, 11 right, celebrates a missed roll after heckling his sister, Jaylin, 16, during a competitive game at Bowlero Los Angeles bowling alley in Westchester on Tuesday, April 6, 2021. The center saw customers again after being closed for a year. Safety protocols include facemasks, plexiglass dividers between stations and 25 percent capacity. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Bowlero was founded in 1997 when Shannon purchased the original Bowlmor Lanes in New York City, which opened in 1938. Today, the company has hundreds of locations opened across the U.S. that offer bowling, arcade games and top-shelf food. It also owns the PBA Tour, which now broadcasts on Fox.

The company sees an opportunity to be a consolidator in the space, as it estimates there are 3,500 independent bowling centers still in operation across the country. Bowlero doesn't hide it wants to get its hands on even more locations, remodel them and take on the likes of closest competitor Dave & Buster's.

While the pandemic in 2020 hit Bowlero hard, it has seen business snapback with the increase in consumer mobility this year. In its most recent quarter, Bowlero saw total center sales rise to $176 million from $140 million in the comparable quarter pre-pandemic (2020). Adjusted operating profit margins improved 900 basis points during that same stretch.

And in case you are wondering, Shannon's highest ever score on the lanes: 236.

"It will never happen again," Shannon said of the score.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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