Fanatics bet on Italian football with EPI deal
LONDON, April 5 (Reuters) – US sporting goods retailer Fanatics Inc will become the official online stores of Italy national soccer team and seven teams in the Italian national soccer team through the acquisition of Italian sports e-commerce company EPI, its first foray into the Italian market Operate Series A.
The deal, which has not yet been reported, also sees Fanatics take over operations at the stadium for AC Milan, Inter Milan, Fiorentina and Bologna.
Fanatics manufactures and sells licensed merchandise for the National Football League, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball in the US and has been growing in the UK and Europe since acquiring UK sports retailer Kitbag in 2016.
“Serie A has so many successful teams that I feel are essential to be part of a global partner roster,” said Doug Mack, CEO of Fanatics Commerce and Vice Chairman of Fanatics.
EPI, previously owned by Italian private equity firm Quadrivio Group’s “Industry 4.0” fund, powers the official online stores of AC Milan, Atalanta, Bologna, Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Juventus, Lazio and Italy’s national football association FIGC.
The deal will make it easier for fans outside of Italy to purchase official merchandise, Mack said. Fanatics did not specify a value for the deal.
Fanatics, a private company backed by investors like Softbank, was valued at $31 billion in its latest funding round in December 2022. The company says its merchandise business will bring in $6 billion in sales this year.
The takeover comes at a time when Italian football is resurgent: Inter Milan, AC Milan and Napoli are all in the quarter-finals of the Champions League, the first time since 2005-2006 that three Italian clubs have made it this far in the competition.
As part of the agreement, EPI’s name will be changed to Fanatics Italy and all 150 employees will join the group.