Why is the Ardent Leisure share price jumping 9% today?

Ardent Leisure shareholders will be gearing up for a payday next month.

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Key points

  • Ardent Leisure shares rocketed 9.6% shortly after the market open today 
  • The company has completed the sale of its main event business to Dave & Buster's Entertainment
  • Ardent Leisure will distribute a special unfranked dividend of 95 cents per share to shareholders from the net proceeds of the sale

The Ardent Leisure Group Ltd (ASX: ALG) share price soared shortly after the market open on Thursday.

This came after the company announced an update on the divestment of its United States business.

At the time of writing, the entertainment company’s shares are up 4.07% to $1.41. But earlier, they reached $1.48 — up 9.6% on yesterday’s closing price.

Ardent Leisure concludes divestment

In its release, Ardent Leisure advised it has completed the sale of its main event business to Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc.

Established in 1982, Dave & Buster’s owns and operates a number of entertainment venues and dining facilities in North America. The concept revolves around playing games and watching live sports and other televised events within a restaurant and bar venue.

Shareholders approved the sale at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) yesterday. This means all conditions have now been satisfied.

This paves the way for Ardent Leisure to receive US$835 million in the all-cash transaction.

Subsequently, management will return $455.7 million to shareholders in the form of a capital return and unfranked special dividend.

This means eligible shareholders will receive 95 cents per share on 13 July.

However, to participate in the scheme you’ll need to own Ardent Leisure shares on or before next Monday 4 July.

Update on theme parks & attractions business

Furthermore, Ardent Leisure provided an update regarding its theme parks & attractions business.

Ardent said the cash retained from the main event sale will be used to support and unlock potential value.

This includes investing in new major rides and attractions, the redevelopment of existing attractions, and costs associated with preliminary town planning work and council approvals.

Ardent Leisure also noted changes to key management personnel.

Main event president and CEO, Chris Morris, as well as group chief financial officer, Darin Harper, have left the company.

Both of their departures are effective from today.

Ardent Leisure share price snapshot

Over the past 12 months, the Ardent Leisure share price has gained 43%.

When looking at year to date, its shares are 4% in the green.

Based on today’s share price, Ardent Leisure commands a market capitalisation of around $647 million.

Motley Fool contributor Aaron Teboneras has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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