Well, we didn’t see this one coming. The Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) announced today that it is will approach the Wanda Sports Board, the owners of Ironman, to “enter into discussions to acquire Ironman assets.”
You’d be forgiven if you’re not familiar with the PTO – it is a not-for-profit entity representing a body of professional triathletes that formed a few years ago and has been behind the Collins Cup, a team-oriented made for television endurance race that was supposed to debut at Challenge Roth in 2018, but has yet to materialize – you can read more about that here. Some big names in the sport were to part of the Collins Cup, including Canada’s own Lisa Bentley and Simon Whitfield, who were to be captains of the International team.
Today’s release also included the announcement that the PTO has hired former British pro triathlete Sam Renouf as CEO and included a letter to the Wanda Sports Board outlining the group’s proposal to “enter into discussions for the acquisition by the PTO of all of the assets of the Wanda Sports Group Company Limited related to its worldwide triathlon and mass participation business.” You can read the complete release below. Click here to read the letter to Wanda.
Earlier this year Ironman sought to raise money by going public, a move that, according to business news reports, was not as successful as the company had hoped.
The PTO distributed the release early this morning, so there is no word from Ironman at this point, and there will certainly be lots of questions about this breaking story over the coming days and in Kona at the Ironman World Championship next month.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 23rd September 2019
PROFESSIONAL TRIATHLETES ORGANISATION APPOINTS SAM RENOUF CEO APPROACHES WANDA SPORTS BOARD PROPOSING TO ENTER INTO DISCUSSIONS TO ACQUIRE IRONMAN® ASSETS
LONDON, ENGLAND–BOULDER, USA: The Professional Triathletes Organisation today announced that it has appointed Sam Renouf as its Chief Executive Officer and that it has sent a letter to the Board of Directors of The Wanda Sports Group proposing to enter into discussions to acquire its Ironman® and related mass participation assets, a copy of which is attached.
Sam Renouf had previously been CEO of MOTIV Group and before that was part of the executive leadership team at ACTIVE Network, leading its global sports business. Charles Adamo, Chairman of the PTO, commented “Sam’s professional breadth and experience in triathlon and the mass participation industry makes him ideally suited to lead the PTO and its commercial endeavours. Sam has a great vision for the PTO’s potential and the skills and energy to realise it.”
A former elite triathlete from Great Britain, Renouf also served as a commentator for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Rachel Joyce, Co-President of the PTO, stated that “As a former elite athlete who has transitioned into a sports executive, Sam is fully aware of the demands of our sport and his business experience will allow him to navigate triathlon’s sizable commercial potential”.
Renouf commented, “It is an honour to be joining the PTO. From my first meeting with its leadership team and its bankers, North Point Advisers, it became clear to me that they are uniquely positioned to unleash the value in our sport and take it to the next level both economically and in popularity.”
He continued, “This is about the natural evolution towards athlete self-determination and the PTO is set to follow the well-trodden path of other sports like golf and tennis, where the professionals took on the responsibility to nurture and grow their sport, alongside other stakeholders. The time has come to end the era where over leveraged investors exploit our community for short term gains. The PTO, working with our financial advisors and certain selected partners, will be able to operate in a manner that produces healthy investment returns, while at the same time developing our sport based on a solid, growing sustainable model. We have, therefore, sent a letter to the Board of Directors of Wanda Sports requesting that we begin discussions relating to the acquisition of its Ironman® and mass participation business. We have every confidence that the PTO and its partners will succeed in this endeavour and look forward to the next chapter of the incredible sport of Triathlon.”
About The Professional Triathletes Organisation: The Professional Triathletes Organisation is a not-for-profit entity representing the body of professional triathletes and seeks to showcase the passion, talents, determination, struggles and achievements of the dedicated professionals who strive to realise the highest levels of the sport and inspire all those who participate in triathlon, from seasoned age groupers to newbies.
About North Point Advisors: North Point Advisors is a leading independent investment bank focused on providing financial advice on mergers and acquisitions and raising institutional capital to meet the growth objectives of its clients. Since its founding in 2004, North Point Advisors has advised on more than 160 transactions representing world class brands in over $25 billion of transaction value. Its industries of focus include consumer, wellness, and healthcare, and it has one of the largest and most experienced consumer M&A teams on Wall Street, completing transactions with leading brands such as Starbucks, Jimmy John’s, Kosta Browne Winery, Landry’s, Golden Nugget Casinos, Massage Envy, and Peanuts by Schulz