China’s Wanda Completes $650 Million World Triathlon Buy

China’s Dalian Wanda Group has confirmed that it will pay $650 million to acquire sports rights group World Triathlon Corporation. Wanda will launch extreme sports events in China.

The Ironman endurance race, which combines extreme cycling, swimming and running events, was bought by private equity firm Providence Equity Partners in 2008, for an undisclosed sum. Reports earlier this month had pegged Wanda’s purchase price as high as $850 million.

The management team of WTC has opted to stay with the company and signed a long-term contract with Wanda after the acquisition. That will enable WTC to launch new competitions in China and elsewhere.

The Florida-based WTC earns revenues from entry fees, sponsorship and TV rights and had over $50 million of EBITDA according to sources quoted by Reuters. Wanda said WTC’s gross revenue has risen at a compound average of 40% for four consecutive years, while net profit has grown at 40% a year. “Due to its strong brand and unique business model, the company is expected to maintain a high visibility and shows fast-growing future business prospects,” Wanda said.

Wanda also said that the deal helps complete the company’s sports rights business unit, and that it becomes the largest sports rights company in the world, following this year’s earlier deals to buy Infront Sports & Media and a minority stake in soccer team Atletico Madrid.

“Wanda has built a full industry value chain that includes event organizing, athlete representation, event marketing and rebroadcasting, which will greatly enhance Wanda’s influence on the global sports stage,” Wanda said in a statement.

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