Earlier this year we reported that, following a €250 million market valuation, the private equity firm that owns an 80% majority stake in Pinarello was looking to cash in and sell up. Since then there has been little news beyond some reports that the Pinarello family was considering buying its majority stake back, having sold it to L Catterton, a private equity firm in partnership with luxury giant LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) for a reported €90 million in 2016.
But this week, Italian website Tuttobiciweb reported that the former CEO of one of the world's biggest mining companies was visiting the brand in person. The visit was officially to purchase a Bolide, but the circumstances surrounding the visit have led to significant chatter of an impending transaction much larger than that of just one bike.
Was Ivan Glasenberg, with a reported net worth of $8.5bn, a keen interest in cycling and triathlon, and who is already an investor in the new cycling brand and team Q36.5, just popping to Italy to buy a TT bike in person? One would speculate that it's possible he could purchase one in his now native Switzerland.
Currently, this in itself is just speculation, but given the financial standing of Glasenberg, and the fact that Pinarello is up for sale, it is certainly enough to raise the "Not A Coincidence" alarm.
In addition to that, another Italian outlet, Tribuna Treviso reports that "well-informed" sources suggest Glasenberg is set to present an offer to Houlihan Lokey, the investment bank entrusted with finding a buyer.
If the sale does go ahead it could see a shakeup of sponsorship at the top level of our sport. Pinarello has been with Ineos Grenadiers since its inception as Team Sky, but with Glasenberg's existing stake in Q36.5 team, it could certainly lead to change. The Ineos partnership is extremely longstanding, and we suspect it's more likely that Q36.5 would move to the British outfit.
Bicycle brands have become big business, and Pinarello certainly isn't the first name to be bought and sold as an asset as much as a company that makes sports equipment. Colnago was a notable similarity, with Ernesto himself selling the famous brand to a UAE investment firm. Similarly, though without selling a majority, Canyon recently received a $30 million injection from a combination of two investment groups. Whether we like it or not, the brands we use and identify with as consumers are financial assets to be traded as much as anything else.
Responding to the claims, Pinarello has issued the following official statement:
"No announcement has been made about an acquisition and it is Pinarello's policy not to comment on rumour and speculation."
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Will joined the Cyclingnews team as a reviews writer in 2022, having previously written for Cyclist, BikeRadar and Advntr. There are very few types of cycling he's not dabbled in, and he has a particular affection for older bikes and long lasting components. Road riding was his first love, before graduating to racing CX in Yorkshire. He's been touring on a vintage tandem all the way through to fixed gear gravel riding and MTB too. When he's not out riding one of his many bikes he can usually be found in the garage making his own frames and components as a part time framebuilder, restoring old mountain bikes, or walking his collie in the Lake District.
Rides: Custom Zetland Audax, Bowman Palace:R, Peugeot Grand Tourisme Tandem, 1988 Specialized Rockhopper, Stooge Mk4, Falcon Explorer Tracklocross