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The Wanda Group has filed for a U.S. initial public offering of its sports unit, which includes Ironman, according to Reuters.com. According to Reuters’ sources, the initial public offering could draw in up to $500 million.
The company made the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the listing and could be final within the next few months. In addition to Ironman, the sports assets in the deal would include Infront Sports & Media AG, a Swiss sports marketing company.
The Wanda Group purchased the World Triathlon Corporation from a private equity firm, Providence Equity Partners, in November of 2015 for a reported value of $650 million.
According to several reports, Wanda has struggled in recent years due to the Chinese government’s crackdown on overseas deals. The Chinese government is understood to have flagged certain overseas deals as “irrational,” with Wanda seen to be over-reaching its debt portfolio.
Because of the struggle, there has been buzz around the industry in recent months that the Wanda Group was looking to sell the Ironman arm. Reuters reports that the Chinese group entertained offers from a number of private equity firms.
This would mark the first time that Ironman shares would be available for purchase by the public, as it has always been privately held. The first sale of the brand took place in 1990, when Dr. James P. Gills and Lew Friedland acquired and purchased the Hawaii Triathlon Corporation, the then-owner of the Ironman brand, for $3 million from Valerie Silk.
Gills established the World Triathlon Corporation and then in 2008 sold it to private equity firm Providence Equity Partners for $85 million.