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Fanatics raises US$320m as valuation leaps to US$12.8bn

Online retail giant's value more than doubles in seven months.

24 Mar 2021 Ed Dixon
  • Existing investor Silver Lake leads latest funding round
  • Fanatics valued at US$6.2bn last August
  • No firm date yet for IPO as company focuses on continued growth

Fanatics has raised US$320m in its latest funding round, with the sports merchandise giant’s valuation soaring to US$12.8 billion.

The round was led by US investment company Silver Lake, which was joined by other current investors Fidelity, Neuberger Berman, Franklin Templeton, Thrive Capital, Blackstone and Major League Baseball (MLB).

Fanatics’ valuation has now more doubled from US$6.2 billion back in August, when it raised US$350 million. Having enjoyed a record year in 2020, the company has continued that momentum into 2021, with its global ecommerce sales so far up more than 30 per cent year-on-year.

Fanatics is also on target to do more than US$3 billion in revenue for 2021.

The last seven months has been a busy period for Fanatics as it looks to strengthen its position in the market. It acquired college headwear brand Top of the World and licenced sports hard goods company WinCraft, increasing its offering that had previously focused on apparel.

Additionally, the company invested in Barnes & Noble Education (BNED) to grow its college presence. China also remains a key target for Fanatics, with the online retailer expanding into the country through a joint venture with Hillhouse Capital, an Asia-focused private equity fund with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Speculation that Fanatics is poised to go public has been ongoing for months but, amid further plans to expand, a firm date has still not been set.

A company spokesperson said: “While an IPO is clearly an available option to us, there is no update on any timeline. Our focus remains on building a great global company and strengthening our vertical commerce business model.”

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