Following IRONMAN’s acquisition of Competitor Group and its Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series back in June, Competitor Group’s media entities – VeloNews, Triathlete, Women’s Running and VeloPress – have now been sold to Pocket Outdoor Media (POM), a company co-owned by Felix Magowan, a previous owner of VeloNews magazine.
The deal between POM and IRONMAN/World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) was finalized on Thursday 12 October. The financial details were not disclosed.
Felix Magowan originally sold VeloNews to Competitor Group in 2008. At that time the business originally publishing the former Inside Triathlon magazine and Velo News was the publishing entity Inside Communications.
Now back in the driving seat with VeloNews, Magowan will take over as Chief Executive Officer of the magazine.
“We are not private equity buyers,” Magowan said. “My partners and I see ourselves as long-term investors, and our goal is to improve the product across all platforms. We have ambitious growth plans, and want to restore these brands to their historical industry leadership positions as quickly as possible.”
The sale is seen to mark the next chapter in VeloNews’s 44-year history. The publication was founded in March 1972 as Northeast Cycling News by publishers Barbara and Robert George, and was later named Velo-news. In 1988 the magazine was sold to Inside Communications, a Boulder-based company founded the previous year by Magowan, long-time cycling journalist John Wilcockson, and Susan Eastman Walton.
Inside Communications owned VeloNews for 21 years, and added Inside Triathlon, VeloPress, VeloSwap, and VeloGear to its holdings. In March 2008, Magowan and his co-owners sold Inside Communications to San Diego-based Competitor Group for an undisclosed sum. Originally formed by private equity group Falconhead Capital in 2007, Competitor Group was then sold to Calera Capital. In June 2017, the company was acquired by the World Triathlon Corporation (IRONMAN), a Wanda Sports Holding company.
During its time with Competitor Group, VeloNews’s editorial headquarters remained in Boulder, while its advertising sales team was moved to San Diego, and later out-sourced to a third party. Magowan said that POM will quickly bring sales back under the same roof.
“In the short term we’re going to look selectively at acquisitions to complement these titles,” Magowan said. “We will also look to improve our place within the advertising market.”
Magowan’s ownership group includes Greg Thomas and Steve Maxwell. Thomas, a former executive with Inside Communications, is currently Chief Executive of the Washington D.C.-based trade publication SpaceNews, also owned by Magowan, and he will act as COO of the new company.
Maxwell, an investment adviser in the water industry, is also co-editor of the website The Outer Line, which publishes stories about the governance and ethics of cycling. VeloNews has previously published Maxwell’s Outer Line columns; he will oversee various strategic and corporate development programs for the new entity.