CapoVelo.com - | Private Chinese Firm Purchases "Ironman" Organization for $650 million
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Private Chinese Firm Purchases “Ironman” Organization for $650 million

Providence Equity Partners, owners of the Ironman sports organization, announced that it reached an agreement to sell its triathlon series of races to China’s Dalian Wanda Group for approximately $650 million.

“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, the CEO of 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.”

After acquiring WTC in 2008, Providence transformed it from a licenser of the Ironman brand to an owner and operator of races. The number of races it owns and operates has grown exponentially since 2008, to more than 200. During that time the WTC workforce exploded to about 250 from barely 10.

Ironman is expected to generate $183 million in revenue in 2015.

Wanda Group also bought Infront Sports & Media this year. The Swiss marketing group holds TV rights to major sporting events including the soccer World Cup.

For now, the Wanda Group plans to keep Ironman headquartered in Tampa’s Rocky Point area.

Press Release

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 3.8km (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.”

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