Quadrivio Group to Sell EPI to Fanatics
Quadrivio Group's private equity vehicle, Industry 4.0 Fund, announces its first exit with the sale of the sports merchandising specialist to Fanatics, a global leader in licensed sports merchandise.
Quadrivio Group’s Industry 4.0 fund, a private equity vehicle investing in digital transition and technological innovation for Italian SMEs, today announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which Industry 4.0 will sell EPI s.rl., a "brick and click" Italian company that specialises in the sale of sports merchandise for Serie A football clubs, to Fanatics, a global digital platform and leader in licensed sports merchandise with operations in over 60 countries.
In November 2020, Quadrivio Group signed the acquisition of EPI. The sale marks the first exit for Industry 4.0 Fund. The company has significantly increased its sales by about 125% in just two and a half years and more than doubled its profitability within the same period.
EPI was one of the forerunners in the creation of the e-commerce channel in the sports merchandising industry. EPI was founded in 1996 in Milan by Lorenzo Forte, who stayed inside the company structure as a partner and General Manager. The investment by Quadrivio intended to assist the investee, enhancing its position in its target market, and establishing a market-leading e-commerce and sports retail hub.
As part of the business plan, EPI purchased Free Time Management Group S.r.l. in November 2021 from Calcioshop, an organisation specialising in selling soccer equipment and is now known as The Pitch. With organisations like AC Milan, ACF Fiorentina, Atalanta, SS Lazio, FC Inter, Juventus FC, Bologna Calcio, FGC, Olimpia Milano, NBA, and many others, the operation has further strengthened EPI's position in the market.
The effectiveness and growth of the e-commerce channel, with a stronger emphasis on the user experience, is one of the objectives that the Group has successfully pursued. The entire production process has been digitally transformed, and considerable investments have been made in logistics. These strategic ventures are in line with the DNA of the Fund, which invests in Italian SMEs' digital transformations in both the manufacturing and service sectors and have allowed EPI to drive competitive advantage through an efficient and integrated service that meets users' needs.
Alessandro Binello, Group CEO of Quadrivio Group, commented on the transaction: "The exit of EPI and its sale to an international industrial group confirms the strategic value of our investment and the great potential for the development and internationalisation of Italian SMEs if adequately supported. This transaction demonstrates how private equity funds can produce strong returns for our investors while adding value for the portfolio firm, even in a limited time frame.”
The transaction was overseen by a team comprised of Nicolò Grange, Investment manager, and Pietro Paparoni, Investment Director of Industry 4.0 Fund, who expressed his satisfaction with the operation and added: “Quadrivio’s contribution was fundamental in strengthening the e-commerce positioning of football, through the in-house development of high-performance custom platforms and the creation of the new automated logistics hub. The skills of the Fund’s management have also contributed, together with the founder and CEO of EPI, Lorenzo Forte, to the creation of value through the acquisition and integration of Freetime, now known as The Pitch. Through our management of the Group, we have laid the groundwork for the current launch of a strong international path. We were able to create an Italian merchandise champion that is well-known in the industry and is available to major football clubs as well as all soccer fans.”
Studio Giliberti Triscornia Associati provided legal support to Industry 4.0 Fund (team comprised Francesco Cartolano, Chiara Cella and Leonardo Giroletti). T8P Consulting served as the operation's advisor (Partner Cataldo Tedone and Consultant Carlo Cremona and Paolo Davico).