Brand platform Unleashed Brands is in talks to seek a buyer, founder and CEO Michael Browning told Axios.

Details: The company is interviewing investment banks and seeking a deal with a consumer-focused private equity firm or strategic company, he said.

  • “We anticipate that we will transact privately in 2022,” he said.
  • The private company’s decision to seek a buyer rather than an IPO is a sign of the times as markets continue to tumble.
  • Unleashed’s owners include Browning, Mantucket Capital and MPK Partners.

Background: Unleashed is the parent of Urban Air Adventure Parks, Snapology, The Little Gym, Premier Martial Arts, Class 101 College Planning and XP League.

By the numbers: This year, Unleashed will generate system-wide sales of about $740 million, revenue of about $160 million and EBITDA of about $70 million, Browning said.

  • Valuation multiples for similar asset-light companies are in the 20s to 20s, he said. Unleashed’s CAGR is between 20% and 25%, he added.

And after: Unleashed aims to add over 235 physical locations in 2022. Currently, it has 800.

  • Additionally, it plans to make four acquisitions before the end of the year in areas including art, music, swimming and traditional sports, Browning said.
  • The company owns about 10% of its locations (the rest are franchised) to test new ideas and services: “We eat our own dog food by owning and operating our own locations,” Browning said.

The bottom line: “What I love about our business, although it’s discretionary, is that people still have to invest in their kids so they can be the best they can be,” Browning said.

  • There is nothing “more powerful” than a local franchisee or business owner who knows their employees and customers intimately, he added.