Nordic Capital Fund VII acquires market leading e-commerce company: Unisport adds online strength to sports offering with SPORTMASTER

January 13 2015

Nordic Capital Fund VII ("Nordic Capital") expands its footprint in the sports market with the add-on acquisition of leading e-commerce football company Unisport.   The Unisport brand will operate alongside SPORTMASTER which was acquired in 2012. The two companies have an excellent strategic fit and a platform for further expansion both in stores and online, in the Nordics and internationally.

Unisport has a market leading e-commerce platform and is dedicated to football obsessed consumers, connecting to these via its award-winning e-commerce platform and in-house produced football related content which has obtained huge followership on social media. Unisport's concept has gained a market-leading position in Denmark with emerging strongholds through recent successful market entries into Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands. Nordic Capital and SPORTMASTER are highly enthusiastic about the prospects of further building upon Unisport's position in the fast-growing online football niche.

Nordic Capital acquired SPORTMASTER in 2012, transforming the business from a voluntary chain of independent stores into an integrated capital chain with a market leading position in Denmark. Since then, SPORTMASTER has embarked on an exciting journey with the purpose of further strengthening the company's primary place in the market and to becoming the customers' first choice, both in-store and online.

As part of this journey, it has been a key strategic priority to expand the online presence and combine it with a nationwide network of physical stores, while driving the ongoing consolidation of a very fragmented market. This was demonstrated by the 2013 online launch as well as the 2014 acquisition of online football specialist Fodboldexperten.dk. SPORTMASTER's online efforts have been highly successful to date and, as a result, Nordic Capital and SPORTMASTER's management team have closely followed the impressive development of Unisport.

Upon completion of the transaction, Unisport will continue to operate as a stand-alone brand, working in collaboration with SPORTMASTER under the ownership of Nordic Capital, and led by the existing and highly entrepreneurial management team. Together, the two businesses represent an excellent strategic fit and will each offer a clear market leading position in their respective parts of the sporting goods sector.

Michael Haaning, Chairman of the board of SPORTMASTER and Partner, NC Advisory A/S, advisor to the Nordic Capital Funds, says: " When Nordic Capital three years ago acquired SPORTMASTER, the   market leading retailer within sporting goods, it marked the first step in enabling an offering that would be the customers' first choice when shopping for sporting goods and apparel. Since then, SPORTMASTER has successfully established its online presence and the current acquisition of Unisport will further accelerate the development of an unrivalled experience for the customers that combines a very strong position in Danish brick-and-mortar retail with an equally strong international online channel."

Unisport CEO, Filip Domagala states: "We are on a fantastic journey in Unisport and we have built a great football community over the years, supported by our many football obsessed customers and employees. We are looking forward to partnering with Nordic Capital and SPORTMASTER who share our passion and who are committed to our ambition to further accelerate our growth internationally. Furthermore, in Nordic Capital we have found an owner that understands the sports industry and via SPORTMASTER has some of the strongest relations with the key sports brands."

SPORTMASTER CEO, Jens Høgsted adds: "We have been impressed by Unisport's ability to build their online platform and have followed their development throughout the years. With SPORTMASTER's strong position in physical retail and a growing presence online, I am excited about the two businesses' complementary positions and skills. Together we have the opportunity to drive the football sports retail category in Denmark even further. SPORTMASTER will provide the business platform that Unisport needs to gain market shares abroad."

Carnegie Investment Bank and Rønne & Lundgren law firm acted as advisors to Unisport while Accura law firm advised Nordic Capital on the transaction.

 

For further information, please contact:

Katarina Janerud, Communication Manager, NC Advisory AB, advisor to the Nordic Capital Funds
Tel +46 8 440 50 69
E-mail: katarina.janerud@nordiccapital.com

 

About Unisport

Founded in Copenhagen in 1995 and transitioning online in 2002, Unisport has grown to become the Scandinavian market leader in online football goods retailing, with dedicated country sites in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands. Unisport's innovative e-commerce platform, centered around social media, has won numerous ecommerce awards incl. the bronze award at the 2013 European E-commerce Awards. The company currently employs more than 80 employees at its Copenhagen office and warehouse facilities. Additional information about Unisport is available at www.unisport.dk

About SPORTMASTER

For more than 30 years, SPORTMASTER has worked focused to gain the market leading position it holds today. With more than 100 stores, SPORTMASTER is not only Denmark's largest sporting goods retailer, but also the most popular among the Danes. In addition to the stores, SPORTMASTER offers a fast growing internet store and customer loyalty club, whereby customers can connect whenever and wherever to the products. The company employs more than 1,000 people dedicated to sport. In 2012 SPORTMASTER was acquired by Nordic Capital Fund VII. Additional information about SPORTMASTER is available at www.sportmaster.dk

About Nordic Capital

Nordic Capital private equity funds have invested in mid-market companies primarily in the Nordic region since 1989. Through committed ownership and by targeting strategic development and operational improvements, Nordic Capital enables value creation in its investments. Nordic Capital Funds invest in companies in northern Europe and in selected investment opportunities internationally. The most recent fund is Nordic Capital Fund VIII with EUR 3.5 billion in committed capital, principally provided by international institutional investors such as pension funds. Nordic Capital Funds are based in Jersey, Channel Islands, and are advised by the NC Advisory companies in Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany and the UK. Additional information about Nordic Capital is available at www.nordiccapital.com