Escape Hunt plc (LON:ESC), a global leader in the growing escape rooms sector, has announced that it has completed the acquisition of its Middle East master franchise partner, Escape Hunt Entertainment LLC (“EHE”) subject only to the formal registration of the sale which is scheduled to take place on 22 October 2020. The Dubai site is re-opening for business today under Escape Hunt’s control.
EHE owns and operates an escape room site in the Galleria Mall in Dubai and also has sub-franchise relationships for four sites in the region. As a result, the Dubai site will become an ‘owner managed’ site alongside the Company’s existing estate in the UK and the sub-franchisees will become direct franchisees. Together with Basingstoke and Cheltenham, which are currently in build, this takes the total number of owner managed sites to 13 with a further two sites in legals. The management team from EHE has been retained and will continue to run the business in the area.
The acquisition is expected to significantly increase the contribution from the region. In 2019, the Dubai site had turnover of approximately £490k and we would expect to run the site on similar operating metrics to a UK site. In addition, with the Dubai site becoming a 100% beneficially owned subsidiary, Escape Hunt’s revenue share from the Middle East sub-franchisee network will rise from 5% to 10%. In the light of COVID19, the Middle East regional sub-franchisee network is being reviewed and sites will either re-open and remain part of the network, or new partners will be sought to expand the regional network in time.
Commenting, Richard Harpham, Escape Hunt’s CEO, said:
“We are excited about the prospects for the region and believe the Dubai site in particular has the potential to deliver very attractive returns from a high quality, attractive venue in the Galleria Mall as was being demonstrated prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are delighted that Abdulwahab Bahrawi and his team are now part of the Group and expect them to play an increasingly prominent role in driving our international franchise business in the future.”