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Dalian Wanda expands sports portfolio, launches new global division

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has continued its expansion on the global sport stage by completing the acquisition of media rights company Infront Sports and US-based World Triathlon Corp (WTC) – owner of the Ironman brand and race series.

The group announced that as part of the deal, it has launched a new arm – Wanda Sports Holding – to operate its growing portfolio of sports assets "under one roof".

Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Wanda Sports will be led by Infront’s current president and CEO Philippe Blatter – nephew of disgraced FIFA president Sepp Blatter – while the top management teams from both Infront and WTC will remain in place.

WTC operates 250 events a year and its high-profile Ironman brand is considered the world's leading triathlon event.

Wang Jianlin, chair of Wanda Group, said: “The significance of establishing Wanda Sports is not only to integrate Wanda's interests in sports, but also to truly expand and strengthen Wanda's businesses in the industry, while at the same time grasping the rapidly growing opportunities in the Chinese sports market. We want to truly impact the development of sport around the world.”

Wanda Sports will operate a diverse portfolio of sport-related interests, ranging from the Ironman events and TV rights for the FIFA World Cup to a 20 percent stake in Spanish champion football team Atletico Madrid.

Philippe Blatter, president and CEO of the newly formed company, said: “Wanda Sports represents an important step in the expansion of Wanda Group’s strategic investment in the global sports business.

“Under the new structure we expect the growth and acceleration of the company’s impressive portfolio of both spectator and participation sports based on the shared networks and resources of the integrated companies.

“All valued partners and clients as well as millions of sports enthusiasts worldwide will benefit. The new structure will provide continuity and stability, a much enhanced service offering and strengthened resources in event development and delivery.”

• Founded in 1988, Dalian Wanda operates in four sectors – leisure, commercial properties, e-commerce and retail. Its leisure interests include more than 200 hotels and 6,600 cinema screens. In 2014, the company had assets of 534.1 billion yuan and revenues of 242.48 billion yuan. Its chair Wang Jianlin is one of China's richest individuals.

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Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has continued its expansion on the global sport stage by completing the acquisition of media rights company Infront Sports and US-based World Triathlon Corp (WTC) – owner of the Ironman brand and race series. The group announced that as part of the deal, it has launched a new arm – Wanda Sports Holding – to operate its growing portfolio of sports assets "under one roof".
SAR,PHR
Philippe Blatter, CEO of Insport, has been named president of Wanda Sports
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ISPA Conference & Expo
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