Panini Group announced today that it has acquired the trading card business of Donruss Playoff, L.P.  Donruss Playoff, itself created from the combination of several trading card companies over the years (Donruss, Playoff, and Score), now becomes part of Panini’s international trading card, sticker, and comic publishing business, headquartered in Italy, with sales of nearly $1 billion in 2008.


In response to a question, a representative of Donruss told ICv2 that “all aspects of Donruss (including Score Entertainment) have been transferred to our new company Panini America, Inc.,” but did not respond to the question of whether there are any active non-sports product lines from the company.  Score has been producing the Bleach TCG; Donruss produced Americana and Celebrity Cuts series last year.   


Panini gains a U.S. footprint; Panini America, Inc. will operate in the U.S. from Donruss’ former headquarters in Arlington, Texas, with Donruss staff.    


Donruss produces football cards and baseball rookie cards (sans MLB insignias), but is not currently producing any other sports cards.  Donruss was a producer of baseball cards on an almost uninterrupted basis from the early 80s until 2006, when Major League Baseball consolidated its baseball licenses with only two companies:  Topps and Upper Deck. 


Panini recently became the only licensee for NBA cards in the U.S., its first U.S. license, so it will begin its U.S. operations with two major U.S. sports league licenses:  NFL and NBA.


Panini is a major publisher of comics, manga, and children’s magazines in Europe and Latin America, and is a major player in entertainment cards and stickers there.  The company has sold 1.25 billion Harry Potter stickers and trading cards, according to the announcement.