Wanda Group acquires WTC and its Ironman brands

Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd. (Wanda), leading Chinese private conglomerates, announced today that it has signed an agreement to acquire the 100% of the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) for a consideration of $650 million.

WTC’s management team  members will  stay with the company. All of them signed a long-term contract with Wanda after the purchase.

This is the third operation in a row made by Wanda Group in the sports sector after the acquisition of Infront Sports & Media and a 20% of the capital equity of the Spanish football club Atlético de Madrid.

The acquisition of WTC completes Wanda’s comprehensive sports business. The Chinese group has built a full industry value chain that includes event organizing, athlete representation, event marketing and rebroadcasting, which will greatly enhance the Chinese Group’s influence on the global sports stage accelerating Wanda’s strategic advances in the industry.

The largest sports company in the world

Leaving aside the fact that the purchase helps the Chinese group completing its sports business, Wanda’s acquisition of WTC achieves multiple strategic goals. First, it expands the industry scale of Wanda sports.

Wanda acquires WTC (signing ceremony). © Dalian Wanda Group.
Wanda acquires WTC (signing ceremony). © Dalian Wanda Group.

At present, major global sports industries are mainly located in Europe and America, and acquisitions are the only way for most companies to scale up efficiently.
After the acquisition of WTC, Wanda will become the largest sports company in the world in terms of scale.

Direct control over Triatlon competition resources

Second, the acquisition enables Wanda to secure core resources and assets in the global sports industry.
Triathlons are “a jewel in the crown” of world endurance sports, and as WTC is the exclusive owner of the major global triathlon brands, the acquisition provides Wanda with direct control over its core resources.

Key milestone in China’s sports industry

The operation brings a top international competition to China for the first time ever and marks a key milestone in the development of China’s sports industry. Following the acquisition, Wanda will become the largest sports operating company in the world.

The Ironman is a triathlon (swim + cycle + run) completed within a strict time limit, and is a popular global sporting event that is split into different levels according to age and ability. In the US alone, over 480,000 people participate in triathlon events, with over 4,400 separate races held each year.

Bright future for the Triatlon business in the PRC

As China enters the ranks of middle income countries, people are paying increasing attention to physical fitness and spiritual fulfilment. Triathlon’s unique charm and challenge could well attract a large number of followers among Chinese people. According to senior sports circles, the PRC has millions of cyclists and tens of millions of runners, so the potential for triathlon participation is huge.

Tim Reed winning the 2015 IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in Auckland earlier this year. © WTC.
Tim Reed winning the 2015 IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship in Auckland earlier this year. © WTC.

Wanda Group explains as well that triathlons provide additional benefits to participating cities.
Statistics show that for a small triathlon with 1,000 participants, there are on average three friends or family members that come to support each participant. People are likely to stay for around four days and three nights. This means 5,000 hotel rooms being used in the host city. So that a triathlon brand owned by Wanda will surely become a much sought after event for Chinese cities.

A profitable competition format worldwide

WTC is headquartered in Tampa, Florida USA. It 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. The US vompany is organizing, 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). With more than 130 races and over 230,000 competitors, both are the largest private owned platforms for competition in the world.

WTC’s gross revenue has risen at a CAGR -compound anual growth rate- of 40% along four consecutive years. WTC’s net profit grew at 40% each year. The company is expected to keep a high visibility and shows fast-growing future business prospects.

Image over the headline.- Wanda Group Chairman Wang Jianlin during his speech at WTC’s purchase signing ceremony. © Dalian Wanda Group

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