Fanatics Acquires Leading Italian Sports Merchandise Business EPI, Accelerating Global Growth
Fanatics, a leading global digital sports platform, completed its acquisition of EPI, a leading Italian sports merchandise company that operates the official online and retail stores of several top Italian football clubs and international sports brands.
EPI, which is based in Milan and will soon be re-branded as Fanatics Italy, provides full end-to-end eCommerce, in-venue, physical retail store operations and third-party logistics for many of the biggest sports clubs in Italy including several leading Italian Serie A clubs like AC Milan, Atalanta BC, Bologna FC, ACF Fiorentina, FC Internazionale Milano, Juventus, S.S. Lazio, and the FIGC (Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio) as well as for Italian basketball club Olimpia Milano and the NBA. As a part of the deal, which was agreed with the Industry 4.0 Fund, the Quadrivio Group private equity fund, that invests in digital transition and technological transformation for SME’s, Fanatics will also acquire The Pitch Football Store, a renowned football specialist omnichannel retailer.
With this acquisition, Fanatics will continue to strengthen its growing presence across European football with many of the world’s best clubs and countries, including the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, England (The FA), Germany (DFB) and UEFA, already utilizing the company’s comprehensive retail and merchandise capabilities, including its innovative vertical commerce model, to better serve fans.
Under Fanatics, EPI’s current roster of partners will benefit from the company’s global presence and extensive range of capabilities including cutting edge eCommerce, data-driven insights from its extensive global sports database, venue and event operations experience, it’s wholesale distribution footprint, world-class product design and creation of a range of merchandise from jerseys to hardgoods to headwear. Fanatics currently has more than 60 offices, manufacturing and distribution facilities throughout the world including in Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Japan, Australia and the USA and the addition of EPI further strengthens its capabilities across Southern Europe.
“I am thrilled to welcome Lorenzo and the EPI team to Fanatics – we share an entrepreneurial mindset, a passion for delighting sports fans and a love for innovating for sports teams and leagues, which makes for an exciting future together”, said Doug Mack, Fanatics Commerce CEO and Fanatics Vice Chairman. “By combining EPI’s local expertise and relationships in Italy with Fanatic’s leading-edge capabilities and global reach – we are excited to accelerate business for EPI’s current partners while further advancing our unrivaled offering for new global partners ahead.”
EPI will become part of the Fanatics Commerce division and all of its approximately 150 employees will continue reporting into CEO Lorenzo Forte, in his new role as the CEO of Fanatics Italy. Forte will report into Fanatics Commerce Co-Presidents for Direct to Consumer, Jack Boyle and Chris Orton.
“We’re excited to join Fanatics, a global company with the experience of serving millions of sports fans from some of the biggest sports clubs and organizations in the world,” said Forte. “Fanatics is one of the fastest growing and most exciting companies in sport and we are ready to tap into its increasingly global presence and bring a more extensive digital sports experience to global fans, both here in Italy and across the world.”
Over recent years Fanatics has expanded its innovative model into key international markets and has a number of comprehensive partnerships with leading sports clubs and organizations across the world including Formula 1, International Olympic Committee, NFL, NBA, UEFA, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Chelsea, England Rugby, Tokyo Giants, The FA and the AFL.