Tough Mudder UK events to go ahead as Spartan seals takeover
Spartan Race, the organiser of mass participation obstacle course races, has completed the acquisition of the UK arm of rival Tough Mudder, ensuring that events can go ahead this year, after the business had gone into administration.
Under the agreement reached this week, the Tough Mudder UK division will operate as OCR UK Holdings Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Spartan, and will be run by the existing London-based team, headed up by managing director Giles Chater, and guided by Tough Mudder’s former global chief executive Kyle McLaughlin.
Some 17 events involving 250,000 participants are planned in the UK and Ireland in 2020, starting in Finsbury Park in north London on 17 April.
Elsewhere, Tough Mudder Germany will continue to operate under the terms of a management agreement with Spartan.
At the start of January, Spartan revealed that it had secured an exclusive option to acquire Tough Mudder’s UK, Canadian and German events.
However, the deal was thrown into doubt when the US, Canadian and UK-based European branches of Tough Mudder, which are separate legal entities, became the subject of parallel bankruptcy proceedings amid an impasse between the company’s largest lender Active Networks and co-founders Guy Livingstone and Will Dean, which led to the company being shut down.
Dean and Livingston were accused of holding out for a larger share of the proceeds of the proposed sale of the whole business to Spartan, and ignoring the best interests of three US creditors to whom they collectively owed $855,000.
However, the UK administrators said Spartan Race has been supporting the administration process by providing the necessary funding required to resume trading, and enabled ticket sales to resume.
Welcoming the takeover, Joe De Sena, the Spartan founder and chief executive, said: “We’re proud to welcome Tough Mudder UK to the Spartan brand umbrella. The company’s dedicated team has built an incredible, passionate community and we’re excited to support their efforts to continue to transform lives.”
Chater added: “Spartan’s dedication to wellness, endurance sports, transformation and community is exactly what we need to deliver our vision and we could not be happier to join their family of brands. We’ve been impressed with strong sales in Europe over the past couple of weeks and know that our community will share our excitement with this news heading into the 2020 Tough Mudder season.”
There remains uncertainty over the future of the US business, but Spartan is expected to make a move that too once an agreement is reached to resolve bankruptcy proceedings, and is looking to reemploy former Tough Mudder US employees to enable multiple events to go ahead in 2020.