Posts mit dem Label Dalian Wanda Group werden angezeigt. Alle Posts anzeigen
Posts mit dem Label Dalian Wanda Group werden angezeigt. Alle Posts anzeigen

Donnerstag, 26. März 2020

Advance to Acquire the Ironman Group From Wanda Sports Group

Advance announced today that it has entered into a definitive stock purchase agreement with Wanda Sports Group Company Limited (NASDAQ: WSG) to acquire The IRONMAN Group in an all-cash transactioon at enterprise value of USD 730 million.

The IRONMAN Group and its portfolio of assets, which includes its flagship IRONMAN® and IRONMAN® 70.3® triathlons, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series®, and the Epic Series® of mountain biking races, among other events, makes up the largest mass participation sports platform in the world. From a single race on O’ahu, Hawai`i in 1978, The IRONMAN Group has owned, organized, promoted, and licensed endurance events for over 40 years, which now consists of more than 235 events in over 50 countries, across triathlon, running, trail running, cycling and mountain biking. Each year over one million international athletes participate in an IRONMAN Group race. 

Advance is committed to the future of The IRONMAN Group and believes in the long-term strength of its well-recognized brands and the dedication of its athletes, communities, employees and fans. Advance is a private, family-owned business that invests in a broad range of media and technology companies. 

Orkila Capital (“Orkila”) will co-invest in The IRONMAN Group and Jesse Du Bey, Managing Partner of Orkila, will rejoin its Board of Directors alongside Advance and Andrew Messick, President and CEO of The IRONMAN Group. Orkila is a growth equity firm focused on investments in the media, entertainment and consumer sectors. Du Bey, previously a Managing Director at Providence Equity Partners, led that firm’s 2008 investment in The IRONMAN Group. 

“Today is an important milestone for The IRONMAN Group. We are pleased with this partnership, which is a testament to Advance’s belief in the company,” said Andrew Messick, CEO of The IRONMAN Group. “We remain confident in our future; our focus and objectives are unchanged; and we are ready to face the opportunities and challenges ahead. Together with Advance and Orkila, we will navigate through the turbulent and uncertain period in front of us and continue to deliver the exceptional experiences for which we’re known. I’m also thrilled to welcome Jesse Du Bey back to the Board of Directors of The IRONMAN Group.” Messick continued, “We thank Wanda Sports Group for its support over the past four years and are proud of what we have accomplished together. We look forward to continuing our work in China with Wanda Sports Group in the coming years.”

“We are pleased to welcome The IRONMAN Group to the Advance family of companies,” said Janine Shelffo, Chief Strategy and Development Officer at Advance. “The core IRONMAN Group values of endurance and perseverance resonate strongly at Advance, a one hundred year-old business that has differentiated itself through long-term focus and commitment.  We are delighted to partner with Andrew and his executive team as they plan to resume exceptional race experiences for their passionate athletes, and to support the long-term growth of the business. We’re also pleased to join forces with Orkila and are grateful for the invaluable experience with The IRONMAN Group that they bring to our partnership.” 

“I look forward to this new chapter with The IRONMAN Group. Since I last worked with Andrew and his team, the company has experienced significant growth in its global triathlon event footprint and has successfully expanded into new areas such as running, trail running and mountain biking,” said Jesse Du Bey, Managing Partner of Orkila. “I am thrilled that Orkila is partnering with Advance, Andrew and The IRONMAN Group to help build this great family of brands into the future.”

As part of the transaction, Wanda Sports Group will continue to operate the IRONMAN® and IRONMAN® 70.3® triathlon series, Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series® and Epic Series® of off-road mountain bike races in China under an exclusive license agreement.

The transaction has no financing condition and is subject to customary regulatory approvals, with closing anticipated in the second quarter of 2020. 

Advance was advised by BofA Securities and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. The IRONMAN Group and Wanda Sports Group were advised by Credit Suisse and Reed Smith LLP. 


About The IRONMAN Group
The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® VR™ Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series®, IRONKIDS®, ITU World Triathlon Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf® presented by Westpac, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with more than 235 events across 50+ countries. For more information, visit

About Advance
Advance is a private, family-owned business that owns, operates and invests in companies spanning media, entertainment, technology, communications, education and other promising growth sectors. Our mission is to build the value of our companies over the long-term by fostering growth and innovation. Advance’s portfolio includes Condé Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data and Pop. Together these operating companies employ more than 15,000 people in 19 countries. Advance is also among the largest shareholders in Charter Communications, Discovery and Reddit. For more information visit 
About Orkila
Orkila Capital LLC (“Orkila”) was formed in 2013, by Jesse Du Bey and Taylor Storms, to pursue proprietary and compelling growth equity investment opportunities in the consumer, media and entertainment sectors. Orkila invests in leading companies at the forefront of evolving market opportunities, including Mikkeller, Recognition Media (The Webby Awards), Antares Audio Technologies (Auto-Tune), Omnipollo and Bellator MMA. Additionally, the Principals of Orkila co-founded Crash Line Productions (Boston Calling Music Festival, Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival and others) as well as sourced and helped execute the 2008 purchase of World Triathlon Corporation (IRONMAN) on behalf of their prior firm. With over 30 years of experience, the Principals of Orkila seek to leverage their deep industry knowledge and relationships to focus on growth platforms with differentiated brands, IP or content. Orkila manages approximately $500 million of capital across three private equity funds and several Special Purpose Vehicles. For more information visit 

Mittwoch, 18. März 2020

IRONMAN Triathlon parent company Wanda Sports Group (Dalian Wanda) agrees US$ 240m loan facility with Credit Suisse

The funding will help Wanda Sports Group to refinance and prepay its existing annual term loan facility, dated 15th Match 2019. The agreement has been made at uncertain times for the sports industry due SARS-CoV-2 pandemie and global outbreak of COVID-19 infection, with Wanda Sports Group announcing earlier in the month that the ongoing coronavirus outbreak could have a ‘material adverse impact’ on the company. Continue on SportsPro.

Dienstag, 18. Februar 2020

Wanda Sports considering $1 billion sale of Ironman triathlon, Bloomberg reports

Wanda Sports Group Co., part of Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin’s conglomerate, is considering selling the global Ironman triathlon business it bought in 2015 for est. USD 650 million. Wanda Sports Group Co. is working with an adviser and has held discussions with some private-equity buyers that expressed interest in the business according to unnamed sources. The company holds also other sports assets outside China like Infront Sports & Media AG and many more.
A deal could come after Wanda Sports declined to enter talks last year with The Professional Triathletes Organization, which was interested in acquiring the Ironman business. The organization said at the time that excessive leverage has hampered Wanda Sports’s ability to invest in Ironman operations. 
Wanda Sports shares have dropped about 63% in New York trading since their July 2019 debut, paring the company’s market value to about $409 million. With total debt at about $968 million, the company has an enterprise value of about $1.2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

Read more on Bloomberg.

Dienstag, 24. September 2019

Professional Triathletes Organisation Approaches Wanda Sports Board Proposing to Enter Into Discussions to Acquire IRONMAN® Business

The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) today released the following letter sent to the Board of Directors of Wanda Sports Group Company Limited on 20th September 2019 proposing to enter into discussions to acquire its IRONMAN® business. One of their main goals is to get a fair share of revenues Ironman generates for all professional triathletes, similar to the models the big sports in the doemestic USA have implemented in the past.

20TH September 2019

Board of Directors
Wanda Sports Group Company Limited
Wanda Plaza
Tower B, 9th Floor
93 Jianguo Road Chaoyang District
Beijing, China
Attn: Mr. Hengming Yang–CEO

Andrew Messick
Chief Executive Officer
World Triathlon Corporation
3407 W. Martin Luther King Blvd, Suite 100
Tampa, FL 33607

Dear Members of the Board:

We are writing on behalf of the Professional Triathletes Organisation (the “PTO”) to make a proposal to enter into discussions for the acquisition by the PTO of all of the assets of the Wanda Sports Group Company Limited (“WSG”) related to its worldwide triathlon and mass participation business (the “WTC Triathlon-MP Business”).

The PTO is prepared to consider an all-cash transaction or one in which the existing shareholders of WSG are able to participate in the growth of the WTC Triathlon-MP Business that the PTO is uniquely positioned to deliver. Professional triathletes, age groupers and the triathlon community have for years watched the decline of our sport with dismay as the dedicated executives and passionate employees of the WTC Triathlon-MP Business have been hampered by an excessive debt load and pressures to deliver unrealistic short-term results to financial investors. There are reasons why world class professional sports like the NFL and MLB have debt limits imposed on ownership entities as excessive debt levels limit needed investment and often cause exploitive customer pricing and a decline in standards that sadly have been present, through no fault of the hard-working operating management, in the WTC Triathlon-MP  Business for years.  We believe the market has recognised this reality as the results of the WSG IPO have proved to be well below expectations.

We have appointed North Point Advisors as our financial advisor, and they have reviewed the public information filed in the WSG F-1 Registration Statement and subsequent 6-K filings. The PTO and North Point Advisors are prepared to begin discussions forthwith with your senior management and your financial advisors and sign any NDA related agreement required in order to commence certain confirmatory due diligence.  In light of the significance of this proposal to your shareholders and the triathlon community, as well as the potential for selective disclosures, we will publicly release the text of this letter Monday morning.

We believe this proposal represents an opportunity to realise significant value for WSG shareholders and employees, and that the PTO can uniquely provide a healthy and growing environment for the WTC Triathlon-MP Business.

We hope that you and your Board share our enthusiasm, and we look forward to a prompt and favourable reply.

Respectfully yours,

/s/ Charles Adamo
Charles D. Adamo

/s/ Sam Renouf
Sam Renouf
Chief Executive Officer

/s/ Rachel Joyce
Rachel Joyce
Athlete Director

/s/ Dylan McNiece
Dylan McNeice
Athlete Director

cc: David Jacquin
North Point Advisors
580 California Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94104


Sam Renouf
Chief Executive Officer
Professional Triathletes Organisation
Sam Renouf

David Jacquin
Managing Director
North Point Advisors

About The Professional Triathletes Organisation

The Professional Triathletes Organisation is a not-for-profit entity representing the body of professional triathletes and seeks to showcase the passion, talents, determination, struggles and achievements of the dedicated professionals who strive to realise the highest levels of the sport and inspire all those who participate in triathlon, from seasoned age groupers to newbies. 

About North Point Advisors

North Point Advisors is a leading independent investment bank focused on providing financial advice on mergers and acquisitions and raising institutional capital to meet the growth objectives of its clients. Since its founding in 2004, North Point Advisors has advised on more than 160 transactions representing world class brands in over $25 billion of transaction value. Its industries of focus include consumer, wellness, and healthcare, and it has one of the largest and most experienced consumer M&A teams on Wall Street, completing transactions with leading brands such as Starbucks, Jimmy John’s, Kosta Browne Winery, Landry’s, Golden Nugget Casinos, Massage Envy, and Peanuts by Schulz.

Donnerstag, 17. Januar 2019

China's Wanda files for U.S. IPO of sports unit including WTC's IRONMAN series to raise up to $500 million: sources

According to report by Reuters (by Kane Wu, Julia Fioretti, Julie Zhu, Joshua Franklin, Julia Fioretti, Simon Cameron-Moore) China's Dalian Wanda Group files just 4 years after the acquisiation of World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) in 2015 for U.S. IPO of sports unit including WTC's IRONMAN series to raise up to $500 million.[1] This would be the long expected step towards public trading of iconic races like IRONMAN Hawaii Triathlon on the Big Island of Hawaii.[2]:

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has filed confidentially for a U.S. initial public offering of its sports unit that could fetch up to $500 million, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter. 
The company made the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the listing, which could happen in the first half of this year, the sources said.
The IPO could raise between $300 million and $500 million, the people said, though one cautioned that $500 million might be high. 
A Wanda spokesman did not provide any immediate comment. 
Wanda’s sprawling business empire ranges from real estate to sport to cinemas, but it has been rattled in the past years by a government-led crackdown on overseas deals and high leverage. 
The company owned by Wang Jianlin, one of China’s richest men, has since started offloading domestic and overseas holdings, including stakes in cinema operator AMC Entertainment and Spanish soccer club Atletico Madrid and a handful of property developments. 
Other Chinese conglomerates such as HNA group and Fosun International (0656.HK) have also faced government pressure to cut down on what Beijing has termed irrational overseas deals. 
An IPO of Wanda’s sports assets would include Infront Sports & Media AG, a Swiss sports marketing company and World Triathlon Corp, the organizer and promoter of the Ironman race, three sources previously told Reuters. 
The two were acquired in 2015 for $1.2 billion and $650 million respectively. Wanda, while preparing the IPO, had also received offers for the businesses from a number of private equity firms, Reuters reported. 
Citigroup (C.N), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) are working on the deal, the sources said. Citigroup and Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 
Chinese companies have dominated the ranks of those looking to go public worldwide, raising $58.2 billion in IPOs last year, accounting for 29 percent of global issuers, according to Refinitiv data. 
They have also been very active in U.S. listings, raising $9.1 billion last year, the highest level since 2014, Refinitiv data showed.

  1. China's Wanda files for U.S. IPO of sports unit to raise up to $500 million: sources 
  2. Bulle oder Bär - kommt ein Initial Public Offering im Ironman Triathlon?

Freitag, 5. Januar 2018

Wang Jianlin's sports holding within Dalian Wanda Group might consider an IPO and sale of overseas assets including Infront Sports & Media AG, World Triathlon Corp (Ironman)

According to Reuters [1], Dalian Wanda might sell these recently in boight assets via an IPO. The two were acquired in 2015 for $1.2 billion and $650 million respectively. An IPO for Ironman was one of 3athlon's favourite 2011 scenarios, to attach all their customers even closer to the brand and lifestyle.[2] What kind of christmas present would this be, to not only race, but own also some stock of your very favourite leisure sport?!

Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. brings together under one roof the newly founded Wanda Sports Holding Co., Ltd. Infront Sports & Media and the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). Logos: Dalian Wanda Group, Infront, World Triathlon Corporation

Exclusive: China's Wanda mulls sport unit IPO and sale of overseas assets - sources
HONG KONG (Reuters) - China’s Dalian Wanda Group is considering a Hong Kong listing for its sports assets as part of efforts to rationalize its portfolio that could also include other sales, according to five people familiar with the situation.
The conglomerate last month tapped investment banks for a potential initial public offering of its sports businesses, three of the sources said. Citic Securities, China’s largest brokerage, is one of the banks involved, added one of them.
A spokesman for Citic Securities declined to comment.
Wanda’s businesses range from real estate to football and cinemas but it has been rattled in the past year by a government-led crackdown on overseas deals and high leverage. The company is owned by Wang Jianlin, one of China’s richest men.
An IPO of Wanda’s sports assets would include Infront Sports & Media AG, a Swiss sports marketing company and World Triathlon Corp, the organizer and promoter of the Ironman race, according to three of the people.
The two were acquired in 2015 for $1.2 billion and $650 million respectively.
The share offering would also include Wanda’s smaller sports assets in China, such as cycling and basketball leagues, one of them said. The public float would not involve Wanda’s 20 percent stake in the Spanish football club Atletico Madrid, valued at 67 million euros after a recent capital raise, the source said.
The IPO would most likely take place in Hong Kong, but bankers have also pitched for a U.S. listing, according to the people.
Wanda is separately looking to sell Sunseeker International, a British yacht maker it bought in 2013 for $495 million but whose financial performance it has failed to turn around, two other people said.
Wanda declined to comment. The people could not be named as the plans are confidential.
Wanda’s interest in property, sports and entertainment - accounting for more than $13 billion of its deals in the past five years - ran into official opposition last year when Beijing labeled overseas deals in those areas “irrational”.
In addition to sports, its holdings also include the cinema chain AMC Entertainment Holdings and movie studio Legendary Entertainment.
The company is also considering the merits of a pre-IPO funding round for the sports unit, according to one of the people. All plans are still at an early stage however as Wanda is seeking a chief financial officer for the sports business to lead the fundraising efforts, said another of the people.
Property forms the basis of the Wanda empire - its mixed use Wanda Plaza developments are common across China - but this too has put pressure on Wang’s business.
Last year, Chinese regulators told banks to stop providing funding for several of its overseas acquisitions as Beijing looks to curb the conglomerate’s offshore buying spree.
Shortly after, Wanda sold a portfolio of hotels and tourism assets, including 13 theme parks, for $9 billion to Guangzhou R&F Properties (2777.HK) and Sunac China (1918.HK). Five flagship overseas developments - in London, Chicago, Los Angeles, Sydney and Australia’s Gold Coast - are also available for sale, according to one source.

  1. Exclusive: China's Wanda mulls sport unit IPO and sale of overseas assets - sources 
  2. Bulle oder Bär - kommt ein Initial Public Offering im Ironman Triathlon?

Dienstag, 15. Dezember 2015

Familie Walchshöfer gibt Anteile an Challenge Family GmbH ab

Nach der erfolgreichen Übernahme der World Triathlon Corporaton (WTC) mit der globalen, marktbeherrschenden Serie unter der Marke IRONMAN durch die Dalian Wanda Group waren unmittelbare und mittelbare Auswirkungen auf den Wettbewerb abzusehen. Aktuell zieht sich die Familie Walchshöfer aus der Challenge Family GmbH zurück und wird ihre Anteile an der Triathlon-Weltserie mit derzeit 48 Rennen an ihren Mitgesellschafter Zibi Szlufcik übereignen. Gleichzeitig gibt Felix Walchshöfer auch seinen Posten als einer der beiden Geschäftsführer der Challenge Family ab. Szlufcik, ehemaliger erfolgreicher Ausdauersportler und Veteran in der Ausdauersport-Industrie, sieht offensichtlich eine Perspektive in der bereits etablierten Serie rund um die Marke Challenge. 

Trotz der feindlichen Übernahme verschiedener Franchise-Events der Challenge-Serie durch die WTC soll weiterhin versucht werden die einzige verbleibende echte Serien-Alternative zur WTC auf der Lang- und Mittelstrecke weiter global zu etablieren ohne bei der strategischen Ausrüstung zu sehr Rücksicht auf den Event in Roth nehmen zu müssen. CEO Szlufcik bekräftigte gegenüber, dass weiterhin der bisherige Weg beibehalten werden soll. Geschäftsmodelländerungen oder ein neuer Investor stünden demnach nicht auf der kurz- und mittelfristigen Agenda. 

Alternativ wäre die Serie zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt ein echter Übernahmekandidat als Gesamtpaket für Dalian Wanda. Wanda könnte aber auch weiterhin die bisherige Strategie der Tochter WTC verfolgen und die Rosinen aus dem Portfolio des Wettbewerbers erwerben. Allerdings ist mit dem Challenge Roth der Hauptevent zunächst einmal ausgeschlossen. Gemäß früherer Aussagen von Felix Walchshöfer steht das Rennen in Bayern auch nicht für einen Kauf durch IRONMAN zur Verfügung. Ein langfristiger Vertrag mit dem Titelsponsor stützt diese These.

Die nächsten Jahre bleiben unter obigen Aspekten für die Challenge-Serie weiter interessant. Mit dem Challenge Amazonia, Thailand (Kanchanaburi), Vietnam (Nha Trang) und Gran Canaria wird die Serie bereits 2016 um weitere Rennen erweitert, ein klares Signal für Kontinuität.

Über die Vor- und Nachteile der verschiedenen Geschäftsmodelle von WTC und Challenge ist bereits in diesem Blog eingegangen worden, ebenfalls auf einige der Übernahmen. Entsprechende Links sind in den Fußnoten.

Pressemitteilung TEAMCHALLENGE GmbH vom 15.12.2015

Hundertprozentige Konzentration auf Roth, Familie Walchshöfer gibt Anteile an Challenge Family GmbH ab 
Die Familie Walchshöfer wird sich aus der Challenge Family GmbH zurückziehen und ihre Anteile an der Triathlon-Weltserie mit derzeit 48 Rennen an ihren Mitgesellschafter Zibi Szlufcik übereignen. Gleichzeitig gibt Felix Walchshöfer auch seinen Posten als einer der beiden Geschäftsführer der Challenge Family ab.  
Von der Neuordnung ausgenommen ist der DATEV Challenge Roth, der in dem eigenständigen Unternehmen TEAMCHALLENGE GmbH organisiert ist und sich auch in Zukunft unverändert zu hundert Prozent im Besitz der Familie Walchshöfer befindet. Das größte Langdistanz-Rennen der Welt mit über 30-jähriger Tradition wird wie bisher von der Familie Walchshöfer veranstaltet, die längst ausverkaufte 15. Auflage unter dem Challenge-Label geht am 17. Juli 2016 wie gewohnt in Roth über die Bühne. 
Der Entschluss, die Anteile an der Challenge Family an ihren langjährigen Partner Zibi Szlufcik zu übergeben, wurde von Alice, Felix und Kathrin Walchshöfer übereinstimmend getroffen und ist der stetig steigenden Arbeitsbelastung geschuldet, die zusätzlich zur aufwändigen Organisation des DATEV Challenge Roth zu bewältigen ist.
Mit derzeit 48 Triathlon-Events auf vier Kontinenten (weitere in Vorbereitung) ist die Challenge-Weltserie weiterhin klar auf Erfolgskurs. Felix Walchshöfer: „Wir haben zusammen mit unserem Partner und engen Vertrauten Zibi Szlufcik die Weltserie auf den Weg gebracht und - als erklärten Gegenentwurf zu Ironman - zum Erfolgsmodell gemacht. Aber unser „Baby“ ist flügge geworden, und für uns als Familie ist dies jetzt genau der richtige Zeitpunkt, den Staffelstab der Challenge Family vertrauensvoll an unseren Freund Zibi Szlufcik weiterzugeben. Er ist der Beste und wird die Serie in unserem Sinne weiterentwickeln und erfolgreich in die Zukunft führen“.

Der erklärte Wunsch der Familie Walchshöfer ist es, sich künftig wieder mehr auf die strategische Weiterentwicklung des DATEV Challenge Roth, des berühmten „Flaggschiffs“ der Serie, konzentrieren zu können. Bereits fünf Mal in Folge hat der weltgrößte Triathlon-Wettkampf auf der Langdistanz den Triathlon-Award „Bestes Langdistanz-Rennen der Welt“ erhalten, viele weitere Preise und Auszeichnungen eingeheimst und genießt weltweit einen herausragenden Ruf als Triathlon-Legende. Felix Walchshöfer: „Wir bleiben als DATEV Challenge Roth natürlich ein Teil der Challenge Family und werden auch weiterhin beratend an Zibis Seite stehen. Ich wünsche ihm allen Erfolg der Welt. Aber ich freue mich jetzt auch unwahrscheinlich darauf, wieder mehr zuhause zu sein und mich intensiver dem DATEV Challenge Roth widmen zu können. Dafür schlägt mein Herz“.
  1. Challenge Family
  2. Challenge Roth
  3. Challenge vs. Ironman - Franchise vs. Eigentum - die unterschiedlichen Geschäftsmodelle und warum Adhäsion und Kohäsion im Triathlon eine Rolle spielen
  4. Dalian Wanda gründet Wanda Sports: Mit der Integration von Infront Sports & Media und World Triathlon Corporation (IRONMAN) entsteht das weltweit führende Sportbusiness-Unternehmen

Montag, 7. Dezember 2015

Dalian Wanda Group has both eyes on Tour de France, Giro D'Italia and Vuelta Espana

Sportcal reports, that the Dalian Wanda Group, the parent company, who recently bundled sports agency Infront Sports and Media and mass participation triathlon organizer World Triathlon Corporation (Ironman) within newly founded company Dalian Wanda Sports Holding has both eyes on three leading global cycling sport events.

Le Tour de France, Giro D'Italia and Vuelta Ciclista España are all on the acquisition wishlist, according to Sportcal. Dalian Wanda's goal is the market leadership in this category and made since early 2015 two strategic investments.

Mittwoch, 25. November 2015

Dalian Wanda gründet Wanda Sports: Mit der Integration von Infront Sports & Media und World Triathlon Corporation (IRONMAN) entsteht das weltweit führende Sportbusiness-Unternehmen

Zug, Switzerland/Tampa, USA – Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd., einer der führenden chinesischen Mischkonzerne und Chinas grösster Investor im Kultur- und Unterhaltungssektor, gab heute bekannt, dass Infront Sports & Media und die World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) mit ihrer Marke IRONMAN in die neu gegründete Unternehmenseinheit Wanda Sports Holding Co., Ltd. integriert und entsprechend umfirmiert werden. Die Ankündigung folgt auf den Abschluss (Closing) der WTC Akquisition durch die Wanda Gruppe.

Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. brings together under one roof the newly founded Wanda Sports Holding Co., Ltd. Infront Sports & Media and the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). Logo: Dalian Wanda Group

Logo: Infront Sports & Media 

Logo: World Triathlon Corporation, Inc.

Philippe Blatter, President & CEO von Infront, steigt zum President & CEO von Wanda Sports auf und leitet das neue Unternehmen. Das erfahrene Top-Management von Infront und WTC (IRONMAN) bleibt bestehen.

Wanda Sports baut auf den erfolgreichen Strategien von Infront und WTC (IRONMAN) auf. Das Unternehmen setzt künftig auf  drei zentrale Geschäftsfelder – Zuschauersport (B2B; Medienrechte und Sponsoring), Teilnehmersport (B2C; Active Lifestyle & Ausdauersport-Events) und Services (Produktion, Digital & Service-Leistungen).

Wanda Sports operiert  auf Basis eines starken internationalen Netzwerks. Der operative Hauptsitz des Unternehmens wird in Zug, Schweiz sein. Die Holding ist in China ansässig. Das Active Lifestyle-Geschäft wird von WTC (IRONMAN) Chief Executive Officer Andrew Messick aus Tampa, Florida, USA geleitet.

Wang Jianlin, Aufsichtsratsvorsitzender der Wanda Group, sagte: “Wanda hat hohe Erwartungen an die Entwicklung und Möglichkeiten der Sportbusiness-Branche. Die Gründung von Wanda Sports ist von grosser Bedeutung, weil Wanda damit einerseits die verschiedenen Sport-Investments integriert. Andererseits, weil es Wandas Präsenz im Sport stärken und erweitern wird, und dabei auch die sich rasant entwickelnden Chancen im chinesischen Sportmarkt nutzen kann. Wir wollen zur Weiterentwicklung des weltweiten Sports beitragen und etwas bewegen.“

Philippe Blatter, President & CEO Wanda Sports, ergänzte: “Die Integration von Infront und WTC mit seiner Kultmarke IRONMAN unter dem Dach von Wanda Sports ist ein wichtiger Schritt für die Wanda Gruppe, die damit ihre strategischen Investments im Sport bündelt und die weitere Expansion in diesem Sektor vorantreibt. Die neue Struktur sowie die vereinten Netzwerke und Ressourcen der integrierten Unternehmen bilden die Basis, um das umfassende Portfolio im Zuschauer- und Teilnehmersport schnell weiter auszubauen. Unsere geschätzten Partner und Kunden sowie Millionen Sportfans weltweit werden davon profitieren. Die neue Struktur ermöglicht Kontinuität und Stabilität, bietet ein aufgewertetes Service-Angebot und optimierte Ressourcen im Event-Management.“

In den kommenden Monaten wird das Management von Wanda Sports die Organisationsstruktur überprüfen und optimal an der Unternehmensstrategie ausrichten. Weitere Details werden im Lauf des ersten Quartals 2016 kommuniziert.
  1. Dalian Wanda Group
  2. Infront Sports & Media
  3. World Triathlon Corporation

Dalian Wanda announces Wanda Sports: World’s leading sports business integrates Infront Sports & Media and World Triathlon Corporation (IRONMAN)

Zug, Switzerland/Tampa, USA – Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd., one of the leading Chinese conglomerates and China's largest investor in cultural and entertainment sector, has announced today that Infront Sports & Media and the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) with its IRONMAN brand will be integrated in a newly formed entity named Wanda Sports Holding Co., Ltd. and are to be rebranded accordingly. The announcement follows the formal closing of the WTC’s acquisition by Wanda Group.

Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. announced a new holding: Wanda Sports Holding Co., Ltd. will incorporate both Infront Sports & Media and the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) with its IRONMAN brand. Logo: Dalian Wanda Group

Logo: Infront Sports & Media 

Logo: World Triathlon Corporation, Inc.
Infront’s President & CEO Philippe Blatter will step up to lead the Wanda Sports’ business as President & CEO with the experienced top management of both Infront and the WTC (IRONMAN) remaining in place.

Wanda Sports will build on the successful strategies of Infront and WTC (IRONMAN). It will be based on three core business pillars – Spectator Sports (Media & Marketing business), Participation Sports (Active Lifestyle business) and Services (Production, Digital & Service business).

Relying on a truly international network, Wanda Sports’ operational headquarters will be in Zug, Switzerland. The holding company is based in China. The Active Lifestyle business will be led by WTC (IRONMAN) Chief Executive Officer Andrew Messick from Tampa, Florida, USA.

Wang Jianlin, Chairman of Wanda Group, said: “Wanda has a very high expectation for the development and prospects of the sports industry. The significance of establishing Wanda Sports is not only to integrate Wanda's interests in sports, but also to truly expand and strengthen Wanda's businesses in the industry, while at the same time grasping the rapidly growing opportunities in the Chinese sports market. We want to truly impact the development of sport around the world.”

Philippe Blatter, President & CEO of Wanda Sports, added: “The integration of Infront and the WTC with its iconic IRONMAN brand under the roof of Wanda Sports represents an important step in the expansion of Wanda Group’s strategic investment in the global sports business. Under the new structure we expect the growth and acceleration of the company’s impressive portfolio of both spectator and participation sports based on the shared networks and resources of the integrated companies. All valued partners and clients as well as millions of sports enthusiasts worldwide will benefit. The new structure will provide continuity and stability, a much enhanced service offering and strengthened resources in event development and delivery.”

In the following months, the management of Wanda Sports will further review the entity’s structure to maximise strategic alignment. Further details will be announced in the course of Q1/2016.
  1. Dalian Wanda Group
  2. Infront Sports & Media
  3. World Triathlon Corporation

Donnerstag, 27. August 2015

Infront and IRONMAN - a deadly combination in endurance sports marketing

Following the recent acquisition of World Triathlon Corporation, Inc. by Dalian Wanda Group for est. $890 million including assumed obligations raises a couple of questions. Three particular will be addressed in this article.

How and when can get Dalian Wanda get a return on investment?

Dalian Wanda is separated into two divisions. The Real Estate division owns 100+ shopping malls and 70+ hotels and is the powerhouse of Dalian Wanda Group's wealth. The second division is called The Cultural Industry Group are 6,600+ movie screens, including the largest movie theater chains like Hoyts Group in Australia, Wanda Cinemas China and AMC Entertainment Theaters in the U.S. Other assets are Sunseeker yachts from Great Britain and Swiss Sports Marketing firm Infront Sports & Media AG.
The 2015 acquisitions of Ironman and Infront Sports & Media properties have made Wanda Group one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive sports companies. Logo: Dalian Wanda Group
Infront was acquired in February 2015. His CEO Philippe Blatter, a nephew of FIFA long term president Joseph "Sepp" Blatter, is a triathlete with 15 Ironman finishes under his belt. Infront is in charge of being WTC's marketing and media service partner for EMEA region since 2011. Infront was also one of the parties conducting due diligence on WTC's assets in year 2014, but stepped away from a deal. Maybe the price tag was too high or Dalian Wanda was already approaching early talks of an acquisition of Infront itself. But at one time, a Dalian Wanda Group owned company had already all important data concerning WTC's core assets like IRONMAN and M-Dot brands and owned races.

IRONMAN is missing a real and long term sponsorhip deal and tv coverage on a global scale. Logo: WTC
The Cultural Industry Group could leverage IRONMAN with current Dalian Wanda Group assets like film industry and sports marketing. Short-term exceptional growth rate can be expected in Aisa and esp. in China, while other regions may consolidates.
Infront already manages media and marketing assets for IRONMAN in EMEA region. Logo: Infront 
A major role could play Infront. IRONMAN lacks for years on a real global title sponsorhsip deal or at least a branded sponsorship for all regional championship races as a series, same applies to the majority of regional races. Infront could contribute here and build a win, win situation for Dalian Wanda at this stage: generating commission for sponsorship deals and the deal itself for two of its own companies. Dalian Wanda movie studios, movie screens, Infront and IRONMAN - a deadly combination in endurance sports marketing.

Update: Sportspromedia has released a similar point of view of the importance of Infronts future role and how Dalian Wanda Group acquired WTC:
The Swiss-based agency [...] lead by its chief executive Philippe Blatter, an Ironman participant and enthusiast, was the driving force behind bringing the WTC and Wanda together. 
For its part, Infront made the following statement to SportsPro: “The acquisition of the WTC represents an important step to further expand the strategic involvement in global sports business, a strong move into the fast growing field of active lifestyle and mass participation events as well as into event ownership. Further it perfectly complements Infront’s portfolio, including major marathon events as well as the B2RUN and Happy 10K running series. “Our shared aim is to build a number one position in the global sports market through a variety of major expansion projects.” [2]

Will IRONMAN continue its aggressive groth and expansion plan?

Yes, according to an email Andrew Messick, CEO of IRONMAN sent on August 27: "This ownership transition marks the start of another exciting chapter and opportunity for growth of our company.  This sale allows IRONMAN to continue its aggressive growth, particularly throughout Asia, and reinforces our global appeal."

Will IRONMAN's Senior Management stay in place?

There is no answer for the long term, but the same email addresses this topic as well: "Although this is big news for our organization, rest assured that the IRONMAN team will stay focused on our races, our people, our athletes and our partners.  IRONMAN has a very bright future: I intend to remain the CEO of IRONMAN and will be signing a contract extension as will the core of our senior management team. More broadly, our teams and leadership will remain intact, we will continue to grow and provide opportunities for partners and athletes."

Other sources wrote about a 5 year agreement between Dalian Wanda and the senior management of IRONMAN and its core members. [3]
  1. Transaction confirmed, Dalian Wanda Group acquires World Triathlon Corporation and Ironman for $650 million
  2. WTC new star of Wanda after US$650m deal
  3. Transaction confirmed, Dalian Wanda Group acquires World TriathlonCorporation and Ironman for $650 million

Transaction confirmed, Dalian Wanda Group acquires World TriathlonCorporation and Ironman for $650 million

As reported earlier, Tampa based World Triathlon Corporation, Inc. (WTC) confirmed acquisition by Dalian Wanda Group for $650 million from private equity company Providence Equity Partners (PEP) in August 2015. In this price tag, Ironman's debt of around $240 million isn't included. The consolidated price with pending assumed obligations is around the $890 million mark. [1, 2]

The 2015 acquisitions of Ironman and Infront Sports & Media properties have made Wanda Group one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive sports companies. Logo: Dalian Wanda Group
PEP bought Ironman for est. $85 million from former owner, Dr. James P. Gills in 2008. The Gills family paid $3 million to Valerie Silk in 1990. Business value increased around 764% since Providence invested in the company, valuation exploded around 21,666% from first transaction in 1990. PEP invested during their ownership around $216m into WTC, mostly for acquisitions of former independent franchisees with Ironman events around the globe. This would reduce the valuation to roughly 400%, exceeding PEP's minimum goal of 250%.

U.S. Navy Commander John Collins founded the race in 1978 to compare three already existing endurance races. Around 1979 Collins no longer wanted to direct the Ironman race and approached Nautilus Fitness Center owners Hank Grundman and Valerie Silk about taking over control of the race. Following personal circumstances in 1981 Silk received ownership of Ironman. [2]

Davis Noell, Managing Director at Providence Equity Partners, Andrew Messick, CEO of WTC comments on the deal, following lastest Dalian Wanda acquistions of Infront Sports & Media and Atletico Madrid. Surprisingly a Dalian Wanda Group spokesperson didn't released a statement in this press release:

Wanda Group Acquires IRONMAN for Equity Value Of $650 Million From Providence Equity Partners 
Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. (“Wanda Group”), one of the leading Chinese private conglomerates, has reached an agreement to acquire 100% of IRONMAN for an equity value of approximately $650 million from Providence Equity Partners. As part of the transaction, Wanda Group will work with the current lending group and assume IRONMAN’s existing indebtedness. The acquisition by Wanda Group heralds yet another landmark investment in the sports sector following Infront Sports & Media and Atletico Madrid.

“Wanda Group’s acquisition of IRONMAN marks another exciting chapter and opportunity for the future growth of IRONMAN after seven very successful years of ownership by Providence Equity Partners,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer for IRONMAN. “Wanda Group is a global-minded organization that shares our desire for excellence and continued growth, particularly in Asia. We are delighted to be part of the Wanda Group family of companies and are excited about the future of IRONMAN as we continue to provide life changing race experiences for athletes of all levels from their first step to the finish line.”

The iconic IRONMAN brand is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Its flagship races are IRONMAN® triathlons, which consists of a 3.9km (2.4 mile) swim, 180km (112 mile) bike and 42km (26.2 mile) run, and IRONMAN® 70.3® triathlons, which consist of a 1.9km (1.2 mile) swim, 90km (56 mile) bike, and 21.1km (13.1 mile) run. From its beginnings on the shores of Waikiki Beach on the island of O’ahu in Hawaii in 1978, IRONMAN has organized, promoted, and licensed triathlon events for 37 years, and owns five exclusive triathlon brands, operating at least 250 events every year around the world.

IRONMAN is expected to generate $183 million in revenue in 2015 and has increased revenue at a CAGR of 21% over the past four years. Due to its unique business model and proprietary intellectual property, the company is expected to deliver strong continued growth going forward.

The 2015 acquisitions of IRONMAN and Infront Sports & Media properties have made Wanda Group one of the world’s largest and most comprehensive sports companies. With these new businesses, Wanda Group now has sports sales, media & marketing, and operational capabilities on six continents with strong positions in North America, Europe, China, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

Davis Noell, Managing Director at Providence Equity Partners said, “We have thoroughly enjoyed our partnership with IRONMAN over the past seven years and are pleased with the company’s growth and operational excellence under Andrew’s leadership. We have great respect for Wanda Group and its leading global sports platform and believe IRONMAN is well positioned to continue its success with their support.”
Upd.: According to Slowtwitch all top management staff members are required to stay at WTC a 5 year term. [7]
Dalian Wanda required key employees to agree to 5-year employment agreements as a condition of the deal, and the office is not moving from Tampa, Florida. It seems to want stability and continuity. 
  1. Dalian Wanda Group in talks to acquire World Triathlon Corporation and IRONMAN triathlon for USD 850 million
  2. Ironman History
  3. Dalian Wana Group
  4. Providence Equity
  6. The New York Times: China's Dalian Wanda Buys Ironman Triathlon Brand for $650M
  7. Ironman sold to Dalian Wanda
  8. Ironman to be Acquired by China's Dalian Wanda

Samstag, 8. August 2015

Dalian Wanda Group in talks to acquire World Triathlon Corporation andIRONMAN triathlon for $850 million

According to South China Morning Post, Dalian Wanda Group, owned by China's richest man Wang Jianlin is in talks to acquire IRONMAN's parent company World Triathlon Corporation (WTC). An mass participation sports asset would follow other acquisitions in the sports and media segment. Switzerland based sports marketing firm Infront Sports & Media was bought for EUR 1.05 billion in February 2015. A group, that was interested in  WTC itself, but walked away from a deal. [1]

Maybe Infront's parent company can close a deal, certainly on a much lower price, than introduced from South China Morning Post. Not very reasonable sounds the "very high" price tag of $850m, considering assumed obligations like the $220m loan (due 2021) to pay a dividend to it's current owner Providence Equity partners and a $20 revolver due 2019 on WTC's balance sheet. Rating agency Moody's Investors Service has assigned a B2 Corporate Family Rating (CFR) and B2-PD Probability of Default Rating (PDR) to World Triathlon Corporation ("WTC" or "the company") in 2014. [2]

South China Morning Post wasn't able to get a confirmation from any involved party, but several of our own insider sources confirmed the negotiations and a very specific time window to close the deal around 10th of August 2015:

Dalian Wanda outbid other potential buyers for Ironman and is now in negotiations to finalise a deal with its owner, private equity firm Providence Equity Partners, the person said this week. There is no certainty that Dalian Wanda will manage to finalise a deal, the person added.
The source asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. A spokesman for Providence declined to comment, while representatives for Dalian Wanda and Ironman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
  1. China’s richest man in talks to buy Ironman triathlon competition for more than US$850m. Wang Jianlin's company, Dalian Wanda Group, is in talks to purchase triathlon firm, says source.
  2. Rating Action: Moody's assigns B2 corporate family rating to World Triathlon Corporation, Global Credit Research - 17 Jun 2014