Dalian Wanda Group – a large Chinese conglomerate – has reached an agreement to acquire 100% of the equity of World Triathlon Corporation, an operator of IRONMAN events, for $650 million from Providence Equity Partners.
The IRONMAN is a triathlon – swimming, cycling, and running – completed within a strict time limit. In the US alone, over 480,000 people participate in triathlon events, with over 4,400 separate races held each year. World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) is the world’s largest operator of IRONMAN events and the most well-known IRONMAN brand; as the owner of the sporting brand and the operator of the competition, WTC accounts for a 91% global market share of long-distance triathlon events.
WTC 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. Its flagship brands are IRONMAN (3.9km swim + 180km cycle + 42km run) and IRONMAN 70.3 (1.9km swim + 90km cycle + 21.1km run) and are the world’s largest competition participation platforms, holding more than 130 races with over 230,000 competitors.
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. WTC is led by its CEO Andrew Messick and is headquartered in Tampa (www.ironman.com).
Dalian Wanda Group is the world’s largest cinema chain operator, owning Wanda Cinemas, AMC Entertainment and the Hoyts Group. The company operates in four industries—commercial property, luxury hotels, culture and tourism, and department stores. It was founded in Dalian, Liaoning Province, by Wang Jianlin in 1988 as a residential real estate company and is now headquartered in Beijing (www.wanda-group.com).
“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 Messick’s leadership,” said Davis Noell, Managing Director at Providence Equity Partners. “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.”
Providence Equity Partners invests in the media, entertainment, communications and information industries and has approximately $40 billion of capital under management. The firm was founded in 1989 and is based in Providence with additional offices in New York, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, and Singapore (www.provequity.com).
Allen & Company (www.alleninvestments.com) is the financial advisor to Providence Equity and WTC.
© 2015 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 8-26-15