CEC Entertainment, the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese and Peter Piper Pizza, starts the new year by emerging from bankruptcy protection.
In June, CEC Entertainment became the first major restaurant operator to declare bankruptcy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am excited to share that we have completed the final step in our financial restructuring process,” CEO David McKillips wrote in an email to customers Tuesday. “CEC Entertainment has successfully emerged from its Chapter 11 process and we are beginning a new chapter as a stronger and healthier company, well positioned to execute on our long-term goals.”
Through the Chapter 11 process, Irving, Texas-based CEC Entertainment removed roughly $705 million in debt from its balance sheet, the company said, adding that it now has more than $100 million of liquidity for continued operations and growth.
As of last week, the company had 559 Chuck E. Cheese units and 122 Peter Piper Pizza locations in 47 states and 15 countries and territories.
The company’s new board of directors includes a number of investment professionals, including Howard Altman of Metropoulos & Co., Joshua Acheatel of Monarch Alternative Capital, Patrick Bartels of Redan Advisors and Lance Milken, formerly a senior partner at CEC Entertainment owner Apollo Global Management, Inc. Clifford Hudson, formerly chairman and CEO, of Sonic Corp., as well as McKillips, are also on the board.
CEC had been in debt well before the coronavirus crisis forced it to shutter its food-and-games units. Before emerging from bankruptcy, it had $1 billion in debt. A failed merger in 2019 with shell company Leo Holdings was intended to erase some of that debt.