Home Business Fanatics valuation doubles to $12.8 billion after new funding round

Fanatics valuation doubles to $12.8 billion after new funding round

by Sakuragun Chan

Fanatics Founder/Executive Chairman Michael Rubin attends Fanatics Super Bowl Party at College Football Hall of Fame on February 2, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mike Coppola | Getty Images

Sports merchandise powerhouse Fanatics isn’t finished raising money just yet.

The company recently raised $320 million in new funding, giving it a valuation of $12.8 billion, up from $6.2 billion last August. According to a person familiar with the company’s planning, Fanatics will use the funds to expand its vertical commerce division, explore additional mergers and acquisitions and expand internationally.

The round was backed by current investors including private equity firm Silver Lake, Fidelity Investments, Franklin Templeton, Neuberger Berman, Thrive Capital and Major League Baseball. Though Fanatics initially said the Series E would be the last funding round, investors came to the company with the offer.

Fanatics backers are attracted to its growth and ability to reach 80 million sports consumers. The firm will use the data collected from customers to leverage other business ventures. Sales for Fanatics global e-commerce operation is up 30% year over year, and it expects to eclipse $3 billion in sales this year.

Last month, the company started its Fanatics China operation, joining investment firm Hillhouse Capital, an Asia-focused private equity fund with companies in Asia’s e-commerce and retail sectors. Fanatics expects its China operation will be worth over $1 billion.

Fanatics used funds from its $350 million raise last August to acquire rival firms, including Minnesota-based WinCraft, which sells home, office and automotive sports-themed merchandise.

The National Football League and MLB invested $150 million in Fanatics in 2017. Both leagues received $100 million equity increases in their holdings in Fanatics in the 2020 raise. Speculation continues to suggest the firm will eventually seek an IPO.

Asked about going public on CNBC’s “Squawk Box”, Fanatics executive chairman Michael Rubin said on Wednesday: “I think going public is an option for us that we talk about a lot but it’s not something we’re focused on today. We’re focused on building a business. But I think we’re well financed and have a lot of growth capital to continue to grow.”

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