Why the Ardent Leisure share price soared 9.5% today

What: The Ardent Leisure Group (ASX: AAD) share price has soared 9.5% this morning after investors reacted positively to a strategic announcement from the company.

So What: The announcement contained six key points:

  1. Ardent’s board has decided to divest the d’Albora Marinas business which comprises seven high profile marinas including three in Sydney Harbour and two adjacent to Melbourne’s CBD. In total D’Albora operates 1,300 berths.
  2. The sale of the marina portfolio will free up capital to accelerate the rollout of the Main Event business in the USA with Ardent providing upgraded guidance for 38 locations across 12 states by 2017.
  3. The group plans to transition the traditional AMF bowling centres into multi-attraction family entertainment venues following the success of this new format in Darwin.
  4. Ardent is aiming to capture the expected rise in tourist numbers to the Gold Coast through the further development of its Dreamworld venue.
  5. A review of Ardent’s stapled security structure has been announced.
  6. A strategic review of the options for the Health Clubs business has also been announced along with a continuation of the conversion to 24/7 operation of venues.

Now What: Despite today’s rally, Ardent’s share price still remains well off its 52-week high of $2.88.

These just announced strategic initiatives could have a number of positive flow on effects.

For one, a number of ASX-listed property trusts will no doubt be interested in acquiring the marina portfolio.

Secondly, the more focussed entertainment business may be supported by investors and lead to further gains in the share price and it could also tempt peers such as Village Roadshow Ltd (ASX: VRL) to consider the synergy benefits of putting the two businesses together.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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