Media holding company TECHIIA, the parent company of WePlay Esports, has merged the assets of WP Merchandise and FS Holding.
TECHIIA plans to invest between $14-30 million (£10-23m) into these companies over the next three years.
With the merger, company shares were redistributed between owners Oleg Krot, Yura Lazebnikov (Founders of WP Merchandise and TECHIIA) and Yuri Antoshkin (FS Holding Founder). Yuri Antoshkin, the Managing Partner of the international FS Holding company will also hold the position of CEO at WP Merchandise.
Each subsidiary of TECHIIA has undergone major restructuring in recent weeks. WePlay Esports announced last week it had appointed Oleh Humeniuk as CEO, who previously served as WePlay’s General Manager in Europe.
FS Holding—headquartered in Cyprus—develops the FragStore franchise, a chain of stores that sells esports-related merchandise and gear. With this merger, FS Holding will also distribute WP Merchandise products in CIS countries, Ukraine, and other parts of Europe, as well as in the United States. FragStore also sponsors esports teams Natus Vincere (Na’Vi) and Virtus.pro.
TECHIIA also stated that the first offline FragStore in Ukraine will be located in the country’s first dedicated esports arena, which WePlay Esports produced in Kyiv.
“With the help of TECHIIA holding we are now expanding our joint business, bringing it to a new international level,” said Yuriy Antoshkin, Managing Partner and CEO at FS Holding and WP Merchandise. “This is a full cycle of production and distribution, as well as the sale of gaming and esports merchandise. Everything related to gaming and esports that gives fans additional emotions from games, teams, and players—all this will be available in our FragStore stores and in our partners’ stores.”
WP Merchandise sells licensed gaming and esports-related merch products and currently has the licensing rights to produce and sell Dota 2 and Assassin’s Creed merchandise, among others. WP Merchandise will be “engaged in the production of licensed game merch and attributes of esports teams,” TECHIIA announced. Both WP Merchandise and FS Holding (FragStore) will continue as respective brands.
“The esports market in the world is growing by 20 percent every year, it has no borders and no age restrictions,” commented Yura Lazebnikov, Managing Partner at TECHIIA Holding and Founder of WP Merchandise. “Esports has long since turned from just entertainment into business and we see great prospects in this. That is why we develop several businesses related to esports within the holding. Our ambitious plans to expand the range of merchandise, clothing, machinery, and equipment for players in association with FS Holding are now coming to life.”
TECHIIA has announced that at least one-third of total funds being invested through this merger will be directed towards Ukraine, particularly through the development of offline and online stores and the “expansion of production under its own brands”. TECHIIA states that the opening of “one of the largest light industry production” facilities in Ukraine is coming soon.
Esports Insider says: It makes sense for TECHIIA to merge the operations of FS Holding and WP Merchandise given the crossover potential between the FragStore franchise and the merchandise WePlay produces. The actions taken by TECHIIA’s respective companies reflect a shared vision of officialising esports through the production of offline FragStore stores and dedicated esports merchandise and arenas. Esports and gaming is incredibly popular in Ukraine and the CIS region, particularly CS:GO and Dota 2. TECHIIA has a compelling vision and strategy for its companies globally.