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Fanatics valuation hits US$27bn following latest funding round

BlackRock, Fidelity and MSD Capital among investors as digital sports platform raises US$1.5bn.

3 March 2022 Sam Carp

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  • New financing represents Fanatics’ biggest funding round
  • Valuation has more than doubled in last 12 months
  • Move comes as company expands into trading cards, sports betting and NFTs

Fanatics has raised a further US$1.5 billion as it continues its ongoing expansion into areas beyond its core licensed sports merchandise business, according to sources close to the deal.

The new financing, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), values the digital sports platform at US$27 billion and included investment from BlackRock, Fidelity and Michael Dell’s MSD Capital, sources said.

Previous investors in the company have included US investment company Silver Lake, rapper Jay-Z and his Roc Nation entertainment company, Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, and Eldridge owner Todd Boehly.

It marks the biggest funding round in the history of Fanatics, which is headed up by Michael Rubin and has made a series of executive hires and acquisitions in recent months to support new divisions set up for trading cards, sports betting and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

It also means that Fanatics’ valuation has more than doubled in the 12 months since the company was valued at US$12.8 billion in March last year.

In that time, Fanatics has established a trading card business which itself was valued at US$10.4 billion back in September, while Candy Digital, the company’s new NFT venture, has a US$1.5 billion valuation.

The wider Fanatics business was most recently valued at US$18 billion back in August.

Fanatics has hired former Los Angeles Dodgers executive Tucker Kain to oversee its growth into new verticals, while ex-FanDuel chief executive Matt King has been brought on to head up the company’s sports betting and iGaming division.

Most recently, Fanatics announced the acquisition of lifestyle brand Mitchell & Ness from private equity firm Juggernaut Capital Partners, a move which came just months after the company confirmed in January that it was buying trading card giant Topps for US$500 million.

It is anticipated that Rubin will eventually take Fanatics public, although the New York Post reports that such a move is now not likely until next year.

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