New Balance has announced the takeover of Gartner Sports, which has been its exclusive Italian distributor since 1996. It already acquired a 30 percent interest in the company in 2003 and bought the remaining 70 percent from the Gartner family. Christian Gartner, who led the management team for New Balance in Italy, is expected to remain in place. The team built up a strong position for New Balance in the lifestyle and performance segments of the Italian running market. Founded in 1959 by Arthur Gartner, the company acted as the Italian distributor for Puma between 1962 and 1972, and then for Uhlsport and Gola, prior to its contract with New Balance. Subsequently, it also represented Fjällräven, PF Flyers and Kempa. Gola, Hummel, Russell Athletic and other brands are still represented by Interga, a distributor owned by another part of the Gartner family.