Sports Business: Wanda Group closes deal to sell Ironman portfolio

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Wanda Sports Group of China has reportedly reached a $ 730 million deal with New York-based family-owned business entity Advance Publications to sell the Ironman portfolio.

The global portfolio of the Ironman events includes triathlon, cycling and trail running, among others. As part of the agreement, Wanda Sports Group will continue to operate the Ironman and triathlon series, Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series and Epic Series off-road mountain bike series races of The Ironman Group in China under an exclusive license agreement, Wanda has said in a statement.

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Wanda was reportedly compelled to sell the Ironman IPs as the parent company’s shares are down 19% in the year.  The Chinese conglomerate will use the proceeds to repay debt and the balance will be earmarked for share buybacks or dividend payments, subject to shareholder approval, Marketwatch.com has reported.

The deal, subject to regulatory clearances, is expected to close before the June end.

Wanda Sports last month had revealed that it was engaged in talks to sell the Ironman business.

Advanced Publications’ portfolio of companies includes Condé Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, American City Business Journals, the Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data, and POP. Advance is also among the largest shareholders in Charter Communications, Discovery and Reddit.

“This transaction represents a great outcome for both parties. Advance is acquiring the world’s largest organiser of mass participation sports events and a portfolio of brands synonymous with excellence, and we will unlock significant value for our shareholders,” Wanda Group CEO and President Hengming Yang has said.

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