Newhouse family buys Ironman for $730M from Wanda Sports Group
The family behind storied magazines like The New Yorker and Vogue has agreed to buy The Ironman sports group, known for its intense races.
As part of its diversification effort away from ad-supported media, Advance — controlled by the Newhouse family — is paying $730 million for the Ironman company to Beijing-based Wanda Sports Group.
The all-cash deal is a steep discount from the $1 billion that the publicly traded sports and event group — headed by Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin — was hoping to fetch when it went on the block in February. Wanda had paid $650 million to buy it from private equity firm Providence Equity Partners in 2015.
“It is obviously a difficult current environment for all types of live events and entertainment, and Ironman is no exception, having already postponed the next couple of months of scheduled races,” said Janine McGrath Shelffo, chief strategy and development officer at Advance. “We believe the price we paid reflects the uncertainty and turmoil of the near-term environment and are very bullish about its long-term prospects.”
Advance, headed by Advance President Steven Newhouse, has been investing away from its roots in magazines and newspapers, including the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Star Ledger in Newark, New Jersey. A year ago, it paid a reported $1.75 billion to buy the plagiarism detection software company Turnitin.
The Ironman grew out of a single run/bike/swim event in Oahu, Hawaii, in 1978, and now includes 235 events in 50 countries.
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