French group aquires majority stake in OC Sport

Published on July 7th, 2014

(July 7, 2014) – Télégramme Group, a major French media, sports and entertainment group, as part of their diversification and development strategy have acquired a majority shareholding in OC Sport, the global sports marketing company specialising in professional sailing and outdoor events.

OC Sport was originally created by Mark Turner in 1993, who then joined forces with Dame Ellen MacArthur in 1997, to form the backbone of the operation that launched and then developed MacArthur’s sailing career. In the last ten years, OC Sport has become a global sports marketing and events company specialising in professional sailing at both event and team level (Extreme Sailing Series, The Transat, Barcelona World Race, Artemis Offshore Academy, Dongfeng Race Team) and in outdoor events, especially in premium amateur cycling races (Haute Route Alps, Haute Route Pyrenees, Haute Route Dolomites Swiss Alps) and mass participation running events (Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef, French Riviera Marathon Nice-Cannes).

Operating globally from bases in the UK, Switzerland, France and Singapore, OC Sport is an award-winning and leading event management company and rights holder, it manages competitive teams and athletes and provides consultancy to global brands, host venues and other event organisers. In 2014 OC Sport’s international team will be involved in more than 200 days of events and competition, across 36 events in 15 countries on 4 continents, Asia being a key element in OC Sport’s development strategy.

In 2010, after finishing her sailing career and focusing on her own foundation in the area of sustainability, Mark Turner bought out MacArthur and brought in Rémi Duchemin as both a major shareholder and CEO. The two have led the company through a period of significant growth, backed by various investors that have helped the company continue to launch new projects. Today, Télégramme Group has acquired a majority of the share capital of the group, with Duchemin and Turner remaining as shareholders for the next chapter of OC Sport’s journey.

“Mark and I would really like to thank the outgoing shareholders, both currently and those of the past few years, who have stuck by us as we’ve continued to run at a fast pace, often taking significant risks, to be able to develop the sports and properties we are involved in. This next chapter will give us a new foundation for continuing to take on new projects and developing new game-changing ideas – that is what gets OC Sport people excited, and it’s what we do best. Our mission to use sport to inspire the public, sponsors and cities alike to take on new challenges will remain unchanged. The focus of OC Sport will continue on international development utilising its sailing and outdoor sports know-how,” said Rémi Duchemin, CEO.

The Télégramme Group has been a media specialist for 70 years, and more recently acquired an events portfolio in sport and entertainment, including in sailing the famous Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe, the event that launched Ellen MacArthur’s career and indeed OC Sport in 1998, and the Solitaire du Figaro Eric Bompard, the entire focus of OC Sport’s Artemis Offshore Academy. Furthermore, Télégramme Group as guardians of the Pen Duick brand, and the name of the boats sailed by French legend Eric Tabarly, have one even more important link to OC Sport: Tabarly made his name through winning The Transat in 1964, an event that OC Sport rescued in 2004 and will run again in 2016.

Roland Tresca, Télégramme Group’s representative and new President of the Board of OC Sport, added: “We have been watching OC Sport for many years, and we are delighted to be able to combine forces going forward, to both solidify our position in France but, more importantly, to take Télégramme Group into new territories, sports and opportunities.”

As a conclusion, Mark Turner stated: “In the past few years we’ve helped take the sport of sailing to new audiences all around the world, creating the Barcelona World Race, the award-winning and game-changing Extreme Sailing Series, helped establish the ground-breaking Oman Sail project in a country where the sport didn’t exist, developed an Academy in the UK which is now starting to produce future solo sailing stars, launched four years ago the ultimate amateur cycling races in the world, developed significantly some of the largest running events in Europe, and most recently taken on the huge challenge of a Chinese backed, and partly Chinese crewed, Volvo Ocean Race campaign.

“When I look back I’m not quite sure how we made all that happen – for sure, this is largely due to the amazing set of people that work at OC Sport – and the confidence shown in us by various investors along the way. Keeping our company dynamic and being ready to take on what others consider impossible, will be key for us going forward, but now with a strong single shareholder to back us up.”

OC Sport
The company was renamed in 2012, OC Sport, from the merger of three entities – PCA/Ocho Sport, OC Group and ThirdPole with the support of Matignon Investissement – and has developed strong expertise in consulting, project management and event management.

PCA was founded by Patrice Clerc who has built up over the past 35 years a unique experience in the creation, management and development of major sporting events. Patrice was the Chairman and CEO of Amaury Sport Organisation (Tour de France, Dakar Rally, French Golf Open…) between 2000 to 2008, and CEO of Roland-Garros from 1984 to 2000.

Mark Turner founded Offshore Challenges in 1993 (now OC Group thereafter) and joined forces with Ellen MacArthur in 1997 to primarily manage MacArthur’s ambitious sailing campaign. OC Group rapidly diversified to become a sports marketing group, on an international stage, specialising in professional sailing. Ellen MacArthur left OC Group in 2010 to create the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Rémi Duchemin created ThirdPole in 2009 with the objective of organising events in the world of endurance and mountain sports; as well as advising brands, public authorities and other promoters involved in the outdoors. ThirdPole merged with OC Group in September 2010, to form OC ThirdPole that then evolved into OC Sport in June 2012.

The new Board of Directors of OC Sport:
• Roland Tresca, President of the Board
• Patrice Clerc, Vice-President of the Board
• Mark Turner, Executive Chairman
• Rémi Duchemin, CEO
• Guillaume Semblat
• Stéphane Delplancq

Télégramme Group

The Télégramme Group is the owner and publisher of “Le Télégramme”, the sixth largest French regional daily newspaper, selling over 200,000 copies per day in the region of Brittany. The Télégramme Group also controls two DTTV channels – Tébéo and TébéSud – attracting more than 100,000 TV viewers every day, and its news website is visited by 15 million different people each month. The Télégramme Group extended its business services with Viamédia, the Group’s in-house advertising sales agency; RegionsJob, the leading recruitment website in France; and offers other media and communication services via different agencies including SeaEvents, Rivacom and Phileas. The Télégramme Group has diversified over the last 10 years in the creation and organisation of sporting events (via Pen Duick), cultural events (via C2G, in partnership with Morgane Group), and now internationally with OC Sport.

Télégramme Group’s sports and cultural events

Pen Duick
• Route du Rhum Destination Guadeloupe
• Solitaire du Figaro Eric Bompard Cachemire
• Transat AG2R-La Mondiale
• Generali Solo
• Transat Brittany-Martinique

C2G (in partnership with Morgane Group)

• Francofolies de La Rochelle
• Francos Gourmandes
• Printemps de Bourges Crédit Mutuel

And now through OC Sport

• Extreme Sailing Series (Singapore, Oman, China, Russia, UK, Turkey, France, Australia)
• The Transat
• Barcelona World Race (creators and co-owners of the race concept)
• Artemis Offshore Academy
• Artemis Challenge (on behalf of Artemis Investment Management LLP)
• Route des Princes (on behalf of the SCPT)
• Dongfeng Race Team (Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15)
• Harmony Geneva Marathon for Unicef
• French Riviera Marathon (Nice-Cannes)
• Haute Route Alps (Geneva-Nice)
• Haute Route Pyrenees (Barcelona-Anglet)
• Haute Route Dolomites Swiss Alps (Venice-Geneva)
• Haute Route Compact

Source: Lou Newlands, Media & Communications Director, OC Sport

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