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Advance buys Ironman from Wanda Sports Group

Family-owned business Advance enters into definitive stock purchase agreement with Wanda Sports Group to acquire the Ironman Group.

Advance, a private, family-owned business that owns Conde Nast, has “entered into a definitive stock purchase agreement … to acquire the Ironman Group in an all-cash transaction.”

2016 Ironman World Championship

“The all-cash transaction values the triathlon business, which is comprised of a global portfolio of mass participation sports events across triathlon, running, trail running, cycling and mountain biking, at $730m,” reports Ben Cronin on the SportBusiness website.

Read the full announcement

“Today is an important milestone for The Ironman Group,” says Andrew Messick, CEO of The Ironman Group. “We are pleased with this partnership, which is a testament to Advance’s belief in the company.”

A co-investor in the deal is private equity company Orkila Capital, whose managing partner, Jesse Du Bey, was the managing partner of Providence Equity Partners, who purchased Ironman from the Gills family in 2008.

“I look forward to this new chapter with The Ironman Group,” Du Bey says in the release. “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.”

Providence Equity Partners sold Ironman to Wanda Sports Group in 2015 for a reported US$650 million and the assumption of debt. Last year Ironman attempted to raise US$500 million through an IPO, but its debut on the New York Stock Exchange did not go as well as expected, raising only US$190.4 million.

As part of the deal Wanda Sports Group will continue to put on Ironman, Ironman 70.3, Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon and Epic off-road mountain bike events in China.

Advance now adds Ironman to a “portfolio that include Condé Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data and Pop.”