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Report: Fanatics in Tipico acquisition talks to deepen sports betting presence

Company looks to make latest expansion play beyond sports merchandise business.

24 June 2022 Ed Dixon

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  • Talks ongoing with parties yet to agree on price, according to CNBC
  • Fanatics wants to become major player in sports betting market

Digital sports platform Fanatics is in talks to buy betting operator Tipico, according to CNBC.

Discussions reportedly remain ongoing and a deal is yet to be reached, with the pair at an impasse on price.

Tipico, which is headquartered in Malta, has a small US sports betting business, with licences in the states of Jersey and Colorado, but claims to be Germany’s ‘leading sports betting provider’ on its website.

Tipico’s most notable commercial partnership is with German soccer giants Bayern Munich, having extended its deal last year with the Bundesliga champions until 2025.

The reported acquisition talks come in the same week Fanatics chief executive Michael Rubin confirmed he would be selling his ten per cent stake in Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE).

Rubin is the third largest shareholder of the group, which owns the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Philadelphia 76ers and the National Hockey League’s (NHL) New Jersey Devils.

However, with Fanatics expanding into the sports betting space and negotiating individual partnerships with athletes, the 49-year-old needs to sell his HBSE stake due to numerous conflicts with collective bargaining rules.

‘As our Fanatics business has grown, so too have the obstacles I have to navigate to ensure our new business don’t conflict with my responsibilities as part-owner of the Sixers,’ Rubin said in a statement.

A deal for Tipico would be the latest major acquisition for Fanatics as it looks to diversify beyond its core licensed sports merchandise business. This year alone, the company has bought lifestyle brand Mitchell & Ness from Juggernaut Capital Partners and trading card company Topps for US$500 million.

Rubin has made no secret of his ambitions in the sports betting space, regarding it as a significant long-term part of the Fanatics business.

“We can be the number one player in the world in that business in ten years,” Rubin told Sports Business Journal (SBJ) in February.

“That does seem ambitious for someone who’s not in the business today, but our strategic advantages are that we are one of the best-known digital sports brands and we touch so many fans.”

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