Panini Up for Sale?

Panini Logo

A number of Italian news sites such as lospaziobianco.it and English media site Bleeding Cool are reporting the major European publisher Panini Modena may be up for sale.

Citing a story in Il Mondo magazine (not available online but appearing in its 14th June edition) it’s reported Panini’s owners, Aldo Hugo Sallustro and Vittorio Merloni, who bought the company 14 years ago, are working on the sale of Panini Modena.

Il Mondo reports that the two partners have instructed Nomura Europe to evaluate strategic options, including the sale of 100% of Modena, and that a document containing information with memo, plans and budgets has already been drawn up, valuing the company at some € 1 billion. In 2012, the Panini Group reported sales exceeded 637 million Euros (825 million USD) with sales in over 110 countries, supported by 12 subsidiaries and over 900 employees worldwide.
Nomura’s document has been passed to companies such as Permira, CVC, Marvel, Alpha, Axa Private Equity and other international funds and other possible purchasers, including Japanese publisher Kodansha and Square Enix.

Although Panini is most famous for its sticker collections, it has a range of other products, such as trading cards, telephone cards and, of course, comics and magazines. The fourth largest publisher in Europe, it comprises four divisions comprising stickers and cards, a Comic Division, a Comic distribution Division (Pan Distribuzione, where Pan stands for Panini) and a New Media Division (Panini Interactive, which develops and carries out Internet and multi-media projects) and operates in Italy and most major European countries.

It currently holds the exclusive rights to publish Marvel Comics in Europe, Oceania, Central and South America, acting as a foreign agent for the New York-based, Disney-owned publishing house.

The Panini Group, with headquarters in Modena, Italy is regarded as the world leader in the collectables and trading cards market and also one of the leading publishers of children’s magazines and books, comics, manga and graphic novels, in both Europe and Latin America.

In the UK, Panini publishes Doctor Who Magazine and a number of Marvel tie-in titles, along with a large range of licensed comics. It began UK operations in  1978 with sticker albums for Football ’78, buying ailing Marvel UK in the early 1990s.

This all seems something of a sudden volte-face for the company’s prospects since in May, Italian web sites such as articolotre.com were reporting rumours that Marvel’s parent, Disney – Panini’s long-time publishing rival in Europe – looked set to abandon its publishing in Italy, which would have given Panini a massive news stand advantage there.

Panini’s publishing portfolio is detailed on their official web site

About John Freeman

Editor, writer, curmudgeon. Founder of downthetubes.