Asics announced the acquisition of a leading European registration provider, Njuko. This is in addition to their other acquisitions of RunKeeper (training app), Race Roster (Canada and US registration) and RegisterNow (Australia registration). Congratulations to Pierre Duvelleroy and his team, who have built a good quality company who operates the right way with reasonable fees and non-exclusive contracts. It is a well earned exit.
The headline of the announcement says “Asics acquires Njuko to take the number one spot in global endurance event registration service market.” We will of course take a half exception to that. RunSignup is only in the US, but we do have more registrations that the combination of reg providers that Asics has acquired. We are on a run rate to have over 8 Million registrations per year (Q3 was over 2 Million).
Of course acquisitions like this always open up a bunch of questions:
Will Asics keep 3 Platforms or Consolidate? – This is probably a question they are all wrestling with right now. As we have discussed many times, the race registration market is actually fairly small and the amount of effort to maintain a competitive platform increases – so keeping all three is a costly challenge. On the other hand, Race Roster had tried to be competitive in Europe, and they were having significant challenges (hence the acquisition). Njuko also has a more modern architecture as they have a new product they are transitioning their customer base to now – so it might be the better platform to centralize on. And in either case, they have to figure out how to migrate customers.
Will this help Njuko in Europe? – This endorsement will help Njuko continue their momentum in Europe. They have been picking up market share and made it successfully thru the pandemic. This is probably the biggest benefit to any of these organizations.
Will this help Asics with Multinational customers? – This is another big benefit for Asics. We would not be surprised to see large multinational race organizations like Ironman and Spartan move to Asics. Of course this will help force the consolidation strategy in the first question. They may decide on multiple platforms and doing integration between them so a customer like Ironman will be able to have a common platform with common actions. It might make Race Roster and Njuko lean in on a strategy of having Salesforce as the back end, and each feeding data into Salesforce as the central hub. These large multinationals might also be gems in Asics shoe marketing strategy.
What impact will this have on Active? – Active has lost a lot of market share in the US to RunSignup and others over the past decade. They have kept their business afloat with their large multinational customers like Ironman as well as their International business. Asics moves to go after non-US markets could make things difficult.
What impact will this have on Haku? – Haku has made moves to expand Internationally this past year. This could make the move more difficult with a stronger player that already has a very large presence.
Will this have an impact on RunSignup? – This will likely not have much impact. Asics Race Roster has already been spending big in the US to try to grab market share with the only impact being winning a few large races with aggressive sponsorship offers, and leaving a lot of cold voice mails to RunSignup customers. As reported in our Market Analysis, and in our Q3 report, we continue to pick up market share. Acquiring a European registration provider will likely not have any influence on US race directors trying to pick the best platform. And most people in the US will struggle figuring out how to pronounce Njuko.
Is Asics and shoe company or technology company? – They are a shoe company. They sell $3B of shoes and apparel per year. This will give them more access to more runner’s emails and help them promote the sale of their shoes, but it is questionable strategically if there are other channels to sell shoes more cost effectively.