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Fanatics Buys Italy's Top Football Merchandiser



Fanatics, the leading global licensed sports merchandise retailer, is expanding its global reach with the acquisition of Milan-based sports merchandising company EPI. The deal, which was announced on Wednesday, will see EPI rebranded as Fanatics Italy.


EPI is an omnichannel licensed sports retailer that manages physical and online stores for many of Italy's top football clubs, including AC Milan, Atalanta, Bologna, Fiorentina, Inter Milan, Juventus, and Lazio, as well as the Italian Football Federation (FIGC). The company also works with Italian basketball team Olimpia Milano and runs the NBA's satellite store in Milan.


As part of the deal, Fanatics will also acquire The Pitch Football Store, a football-specialist omnichannel retailer. The acquisition was facilitated by the Quadrivio Group's Industry 4.0 Fund. All of EPI's approximately 150 employees will stay on with the newly named company, and current CEO Lorenzo Forte will remain as head of Fanatics Italy.


"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," said Forte.


Fanatics has been rapidly expanding its global footprint in recent years, with offices, manufacturing, and distribution facilities in Spain, France, Germany, the U.K., Netherlands, Japan, and Australia. The acquisition of EPI marks the latest addition to its global presence.


It remains to be seen how or when Fanatics will expand its manufacturing empire. Last month, the company signed a deal to become the official on-ice uniform supplier for the NHL beginning with the 2024-25 season. The move is part of Fanatics' strategy to leverage its technology and supply chain capabilities to create a vertically integrated, end-to-end sports apparel and merchandise business.


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