Zug, Switzerland / Milan, Italy – Infront Sports & Media has reached an agreement to acquire the Milan-based sports marketing agency, Media Partners. The purchase was concluded today and is being reviewed by the national Merger Control Authority.
Media Partners, founded in 1995, is one of Europe’s leading sports marketing companies. The purchase creates important synergies and complements Infront’s substantial involvement with winter sports, its strength in host broadcast production and its advanced expertise in new media rights. It also gives Infront an operation in Italy, one of Europe’s most important sports markets.
Media Partners handles the management and marketing of the broadcast rights and majority of the marketing rights for the FIS Alpine and Nordic Ski World Cup, together with the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle World Cup events. Infront, through its Austrian-based agency operation (APF), holds the marketing rights to the biennial FIS Alpine Ski World Championships and the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships, starting with the 2007 events in Sapporo (Japan) and Åre (Sweden) and running through the 2009 Championships, and to various FIS World Cup title and presenting sponsorships. Infront also represents the media rights of the Austrian Ski Federation’s World Cup races.
The combination of Infront and Media Partners means that Infront can better serve the international skiing federation (FIS) through more effective deployment of FIS rights and a consolidation of both company’s strengths in marketing, media and production.
“There is real potential for combining the rights we already have with those managed by Media Partners,” said Infront President & CEO Philippe Blatter. “The potential synergies are exciting. We believe that the winter sports properties can be made more rewarding, achieving a higher level of commercial value, appeal to sponsors and excitement for fans.”
Although the purchase does not include the international media rights to various Italian football’s Serie A and Serie B clubs (these will be distributed by Riccardo Silva) – it does include the production of 70 Serie A and Serie B matches each season and Media Partner’s new media rights to the Italian League in various categories – including digital terrestrial, IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) and UMTS.
The acquisition of Media Partners is part of Infront’s new long term strategy to build on its strengths in selected areas - such as winter sports – and to become the market leader in key sectors.
The key management of Media Partners will remain in place and Marco Bogarelli, Media Partners’ CEO and President, will join the Board of the Infront Holding.
Marco Bogarelli said: “Integration into one of the most respectable sports marketing groups like Infront – especially one with such a good reputation and focused growth plan - will open the door to many new opportunities for our clients and our staff. We are very excited about the future and look forward to working with the Infront team and to become part of the Infront family.”