Beijing, China / Zug, Switzerland / Paris, France – Dalian Wanda Group Co., Ltd., one of the leading Chinese conglomerates and China's largest investor in cultural and entertainment sector, announced today that it has closed the acquisition of the majority shareholding in Infront Sports & Media AG, one of the world’s most respected and leading international sports marketing companies. The transaction was completed with all customary conditions being fulfilled. The shares have been acquired from Bridgepoint, the European private equity firm. The transaction is valued at approximately EUR 1.05 billion (USD 1.2 billion).
To reflect the new ownership structure, Wanda representatives will join Infront’s Board of Directors. Wanda Cultural Industry Group President Lincoln Zhang will take over as Chairman. Jack Q Gao, Wanda Group Vice President & CEO, International Investments and Business Developments, will act as Vice Chairman.
Dalian Wanda Group was founded in 1988 and operates in four key business segments: commercial properties, culture & tourism, e-commerce and department stores. In 2014, the company’s assets totalled CNY 534.1 billion (USD 86.8 billion) and its annual income reached CNY 242.5 billion (USD 39.4 billion). The company now operates 113 Wanda Plazas, 73 hotels (including 68 five-star hotels), 6,600 cinema screens and 99 department stores nationwide. Looking ahead, by 2020, the company aims to develop into a leading multinational corporation (MNC) with total assets of USD 200 billion, annual revenues of USD 100 billion and net income of USD 10 billion.
Infront Sports & Media is the most respected sports marketing company in the world, managing a comprehensive portfolio of top properties. Led by President & CEO Philippe Blatter, Infront covers all aspects of successful sporting events – including distribution of media rights, sponsorship, media production and event operation – and has won a reputation for its high standards of delivery. As the number one player in winter sport and with a leading role in football and summer sports, Infront enjoys long-lasting partnerships with 160 rights-holders and hundreds of sponsors and media companies. Headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, Infront has a team of experienced staff working from over 25 offices across 13 countries, delivering 4,000 event days of top class sport around the world every year.
Bridgepoint is a European private equity firm focussing on the acquisition of companies valued up to EUR 1 billion. With over EUR 20 billion of capital raised to date, it typically focuses on acquiring well managed companies in attractive sectors with the potential to grow organically or through acquisition. It has offices throughout Europe in Frankfurt, Istanbul, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Paris, Stockholm and a portfolio development office in Shanghai. In addition to its investment in Infront, Bridgepoint is currently invested in Dorna Sports, the international sports management business with exclusive rights to promote and manage the MotoGP Motorcycle World Championship until 2036 and the World Superbikes Championship until 2026.