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Spartan Race lines up Tough Mudder merger

Competitors participate in the Barbed Wire Crawl task during a Spartan Race Asia-Pacific in Hong Kong (by Billy H.C. Kwok/Getty Images)

Spartan Race has announced it has an exclusive option to acquire Tough Mudder’s UK, Canadian and German events in a deal that would herald the merger of the two leading entities in the obstacle course racing market.

US-based Spartan Race said that under the proposed deal, Tough Mudder events in the three countries will continue to be operated by the same team and under the same brand, but will be part of the larger Spartan family of brands and events.

“This is a goal we’ve had for some time,” Spartan chief executive and founder Joe De Sena said in a statement. “Tough Mudder UK, Canada, and Germany bring a unique experience, and putting the success of the two together strengthens our global mission of getting 100 million people off the couch.”

Under Spartan ownership, the company said Tough Mudder UK, Canada, and Germany events will be focused as “teamwork-based, non-competitive festival events”. The competitions will be handled by Spartan.

Spartan said it will continue to work with Tough Mudder’s founders, Will Dean and Guy Livingstone, in efforts to complete the acquisition and renewal of Tough Mudder’s US-based events and operations. De Sena added: “I look forward to creating a lasting partnership with Will and Guy as we seek to complete the merger. I’m excited about the prospect of what we can do together, as one team.”

Read this: A dirty business | Leading mass-participation event Tough Mudder’s global expansion

In April 2016, Tough Mudder teamed up with the IMG agency and market entry specialist Seroja Partners to expand the mass participation obstacle course series into Asia and the Middle East.

Tough Mudder’s partnership with IMG was designed to organise events in China, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, while Seroja Partners worked to organise events in Indonesia. Both IMG and Seroja Partners signed multi-year partnerships and sought to add to Tough Mudder’s portfolio of sponsors over the course of their respective agreements.

However, the Obstacle Racing Media website notes that Tough Mudder has been enduring financial difficulties of late, while a dispute with commercial partner Active Network has seen event ticket sales suspended.

Obstacle Racing Media reports that at least one Tough Mudder vendor has complained of large receivables due. Citing a source close to the situation, the website added that Tough Mudder chief executive Kyle McLaughlin has stepped down amid frustration in efforts to get the company’s board to provide the funding for payroll.