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UPDATE 1-Bowling centers' operator Bowlero strikes $2.6 bln SPAC merger deal

(Adds transaction details, background)

July 1 (Reuters) - Bowlero Corp, owner and operator of bowling centers, said on Thursday it had agreed to go public through a merger with blank-check firm Isos Acquisition Corp , valuing the combined company at around $2.6 billion.

The deal includes a private investment in public equity of $450 million anchored by investors including Wells Fargo Asset Management, funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management Inc, Brigade Capital Management, Soros Fund Management and The Donerail Group.

Bowlero, which owns the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA), operates about 300 bowling centers in North America, nearly eight times more than its closest rival, the company said.

Revenue from its centers has already exceeded pre-pandemic levels, despite ongoing capacity restrictions, Bowlero said.

The company expects to report revenue of roughly $859 million for the calendar year 2022.

Shares and warrants of the combined company, to be named “Bowlero”, will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “BOWL” and “BOWL WS” respectively.

Isos, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) raised $225 million through an initial public offering earlier this year.

SPACs are publicly listed shell companies that merge with a private entity to take it public. SPAC mergers have emerged as a popular alternative to traditional IPOs.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and LionTree Advisors LLC are serving as the financial advisers to Bowlero and Isos on the deal respectively.

Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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