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Ironman IPO: Wanda Sports Raises $190.4 Million

The IPO was downsized as Ironman’s parent company had initially hoped to raise $500 million to pay down debt and fund strategic investments.

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Happy Ironman IPO Day! Now you can own a part of M-Dot glory. Beijing-based Wanda Sports, a unit of Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, is due to start trading today on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol WSG.

Besides Ironman, the company owns Swiss marketing company Infront Sports & Media AG. The IPO values the companies together at $1 billion. Dalian Wanda paid $1.2 billion for In Front in 2015 and $650 million for Ironman later that same year.

Investment pundits finger “tepid” demand for Chinese stocks for the downsizing, citing the fact that China’s largest live-streaming platform, DouYu International Holdings, priced its Nasdaq IPO at the bottom of a price range last week, according to Reuters.

IPOs can be downsized when investors are concerned about the growth outlook in the area of business in which the company operates. Uber, for instance, downsized its IPO in a move that was not coincidentally related to Lyft’s less-than-stellar stock performance after its listing. cited its own analyst Asad Hussain, who said, “We believe that recent price reductions for both Uber and Lyft may be indicative of investor hesitance to invest in highly capital-intensive, deeply unprofitable and untested business models at this late stage of the economic cycle.”

As part of the exercise of filing for an IPO, companies identify their risks. Wanda Sports noted the risks of running a mass participation business, from “from safety and security to bad publicity around deaths and weather, or even damage to the brand because of perceptions of doping or infringement on intellectual property.”

Wanda Sports reported a profit of $60 million in 2018, Reuters writes, a 31 percent drop from the previous year. The company recorded a loss of about $9.57 million in the first three months of 2019.

In an update to its preliminary prospectus, the company anticipated net proceeds of $170.4 million and stated that money would be used toward repaying $200 million outstanding on a 364-day loan facility, using cash on hand to repay the rest.

“This marks an important next step in the evolution of The Ironman Group,” Ironman’s CEO Andrew Messick wrote in a statement. “WSG’s public listing positions us for continued growth as we continue to provide exceptional, life-changing race experiences to athletes of all levels, from their first step to the finish line. Our future is bright – we have a great portfolio of brands and some of the most prestigious and important events in our industry. While we have become part of a global public company, our focus and objectives will not change.”

The news of the Ironman IPO should come as quite the delight for triathletes interested in the business of Ironman; you can now look forward to quarterly Wanda Sports financial reports that may give a regular glimpse into the state of long-course triathlon.