Wanda Group acquires Infront Sports & Media from Bridgepoint at EUR 1.05 billion
Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd., one of the leading Chinese conglomerates and China's largest investor in cultural and entertainment sector has reached an agreement to acquire Infront Sports & Media AG, the world’s most respected international sports marketing company based in Zug, Switzerland, from the European private equity firm Bridgepoint. The transaction is valued at approximately EUR 1.05 billion (USD 1.2 billion) and is subject to customary conditions.
Wang Jianlin, Chairman of Wanda Group, said: “This acquisition of Infront will significantly increase the future impact of the Wanda Group in the culture and entertainment industry and will also drive the development of Chinese sports industry and its interest around the globe. Infront, through its long-standing partnerships with some of the most important sports rights-holders, is top-connected in the global sports industry. It is best-positioned to actively support China in its bidding efforts for major sports events, as it is already involved in the planning, delivering, marketing and servicing of a broad array of top international events. By acquiring Infront, Wanda will also be in a position to increase its influence in the global sports industry and help raising the level of competition in Chinese sports. We are very confident to support Infront in its aim to become the number one global sports marketing company.”
Philippe Blatter, Infront’s President & CEO, added: “Based on our existing strategy and the combined experience of Wanda and Infront, we will continue to grow our business across the board, both internationally as well as in China. We are looking forward to jointly tackle a variety of major expansion projects with the aim to strengthen our leading position in the global sports market. Wanda is fully committed to actively contribute to Infront’s ambitious growth plans and shares our long-term vision as well as our corporate values. Overall, we are convinced that the new and strengthened ownership structure will help to further enhance our service offering to benefit our valued partners and clients.”
In football, it is partner to international (e.g. Fédération Internationale de Football Association – FIFA) and national federations (e.g. the German and the Italian Football Federation), leagues (e.g. the Italian Lega Serie A) as well as clubs (e.g. A.C. Milan, F.C. Internazionale Milano, SV Werder Bremen, 1. FC Köln). In winter sports, Infront is the undisputed market leader representing all seven Olympic winter sports federations, including the International Ski Federation (FIS) and the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF)for ice hockey; in summer sports, Infront represents a strong rights portfolio including international federations for handball (European Handball Federation – EHF), volleyball (Confédération Européenne de Volleyball – CEV) and cycling (Union Cycliste Internationale – UCI), as well as the Turkish Basketball League (TBL); in the active lifestyle & endurance segment the company collaborates with the World Marathon Majors and the iconic Ironman endurance events amongst other properties.
Infront is also the leading sports marketing organisation in China. During the past ten years, it has created tremendous momentum for Chinese basketball by representing the country’s top sport both on CBA League and National Team level. In 2014, the Group successfully launched a domestic mass participation series for amateur runners (Happy 10k), driving forward its strategic expansion in the Active Lifestyle segment.
After the acquisition through Wanda, Infront’s existing, most experienced senior management team led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter will remain in place. Based on Infront’s successful business strategy, both parties have agreed on a long-term strategic plan until 2020.