Wanda lines up IPO for sports interests

Chinese conglomerate Wanda Group has filed for a US initial public offering of its sports unit, according to Reuters.

The news agency, citing sources with direct knowledge of the matter, said the IPO could raise between $300m (€261.9m) and $500m adding that the filing was made confidentially with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The IPO for Wanda’s sports unit, which includes the Infront agency and World Triathlon Corporation, owner of the Ironman brand, could reportedly happen in the first half of 2019.

Reuters said that while preparing the IPO, Wanda had received offers for the businesses from a number of private equity firms. Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley have reportedly been engaged to work on the deal.

Wanda has recently been divesting domestic and overseas holdings as the Chinese government seeks to clamp down on overseas deals and high leverage. In February 2018, Quantum Pacific Group, an entity led by Israeli billionaire Idan Ofer, more than doubled its stake in Atlético Madrid after agreeing a deal to acquire the interest held in the Spanish LaLiga football club by Wanda.

Quantum acquired Wanda’s 17-per-cent stake, with Atlético stating the Chinese firm’s decision to divest its interest was part of its “global strategy”.