citybiz+ Court Square Partners Makes Strategic Investment in Kentucky’s Five Star Parks

New York’s Court Square Capital Partners, a middle market-focused private equity firm with $7.4 billion in assets under management, has made a strategic capital investment in Kentucky’s Five Star Parks & Attractions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Based in Lexington, Ky., Five Star operates 20 family entertainment centers across brands such as The Track Family Fun Parks, Celebration Station, Xtreme, Speed Zone, LazerPort, Malibu Jack’s, and Craig’s Cruisers. Its shareholders include Denver, Colo.-based Fruition Partners and New York’s Taubman Capital.

“We are impressed by the unique platform Five Star has created and are excited to partner with [Five Star CEO] John Dunlap and the management team to drive further value creation,” said Joseph Silvestri, Court Square’s co-founder and managing partner. “Five Star has many of the characteristics we look for when partnering with founders, families and manager-owners.”

Five Star says robust growth over the past two years has turned it into the largest privately-owned U.S. operator of family entertainment centers. With locations across the Southeast and Midwest, it expects to cash in on the growth momentum.

“This partnership strongly positions Five Star to further deliver on our growth plans and continue executing on our goal of building safe and accessible family entertainment centers throughout the U.S.,” said Dunlap. “The Five Star team is thrilled to partner with Court Square given their operating knowledge and extensive experience working with founder and management-owned businesses.”

Court Square, established in 1979, has focused on founders, families and manager-owners, investing a large chunk of its funds in such enterprises with compelling growth potential. From its last two funds, this segment received 75% of its investments. So far, Court Square has made over 245 platform investments in varied sectors including industrial, business services, healthcare, technology and telecom. Currently, it has $7.4 billion in assets under management.

Co-founder Joseph Silvestri has served as a managing partner since Court Square’s inception. He chairs the Investment Committee, and heads the Industrials Sector. Silvestri holds board seats on portfolio companies Drew Marine, Five Star Parks & Attractions, InfiniteChoice, Kodiak Building Partners, Offen Petroleum, PlayCore, RailPros, Travel Funders Network, Veregy and Virtium. He received his B.S. from Pennsylvania State University and his M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

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Last year, Court Square detailed a succession plan under which managing partner Chris Bloise was named president, and Kevin White was promoted as managing partner. White will join Mike Delaney as co-head of the Business Services Sector.

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“The leadership transition is part of Court Square’s long-term leadership plan designed to ensure the continued stability and success of the firm,” the company then said. “The veteran leadership team has invested together on average for over twenty-five years and successfully led the firm through multiple business cycles and economic disruptions.”

Over the past year, Court Square’s deals have included the acquisition of West Coast Dental, a founder-owned dental practice management company, and a closing of its purchase of Power Digital, a founder-led digital performance marketing agency.