VeloNews acquired by Pocket Outdoor Media
BOULDER, Colorado (VN) — VeloNews is going back to the future.
Nearly a decade after its acquisition by the Competitor Group Inc., VeloNews has been sold to Pocket Outdoor Media LLC (POM), a company co-owned by Felix Magowan, a previous owner of the magazine.
The deal, which was finalized Thursday afternoon by POM and the World Triathlon Corporation, also included the titles Triathlete, Women’s Running, and book publisher VeloPress. The financial details of the deal were not released.
Magowan, who sold VeloNews to the Competitor Group in 2008, will take over as chief executive officer of the magazine.
“We are not private equity buyers. My partners and I see ourselves as long-term investors, and our goal is to improve the product across all platforms,” Magowan said. “We have ambitious growth plans, and want to restore these brands to their historical industry leadership positions as quickly as possible.”
The sale marks 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 Inc., a Boulder-based company founded the previous year by Magowan, longtime 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 the San Diego-based Competitor Group Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Originally formed by private equity group Falconhead Capital in 2007, the Competitor Group was sold to Calera Capital. In June 2017, the company was acquired by the World Triathlon Corporation, 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.