Fanatics, a sports merchandise company, received a $325m raise Monday to fund the creation of a new company under its umbrella. Sources told Daily Reuters that the company is now worth $18 billion.
Florida’s e-commerce company will create a new company to focus on other revenue streams than merchandising. Michael Rubin, Fanatics chairman, will lead the division as chief executive officer. Fanatics claims it will make $3.4 billion in revenue this year, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Fanatics is looking for new opportunities, such as sports gambling. This movie explains why the company has been hiring new executives. Fanatics recently hired Glenn Schiffman, former chief financial officer at IAC to help them expand into new areas like ticketing and gaming. Candy Digital, their NFT company is managed by the company.
Tucker Kain, a former president of the Los Angeles Dodgers, joined the company as chief strategy officer and growth officer. Matt King, the former CEO of Fan Duel, will be leading a division for sports gambling and gaming.
It is not clear what role Fanatics may play in the sector of sports gambling. However, the company was not interested in acquiring PointsBet as a sports gambling provider.
Jay Z, a hip-hop mogul, and his entertainment company Roc Nation are among the investors in the raise. SoftBank and Major League Baseball also have equity in Fanatics.
Jay Z continues to be active in 2021 with this investment. Moet Hennessy (the wine and spirits division at luxury conglomerate LVMH) purchased a 50% share in Jay Z’s champagne brand Armand de Brignac. And last March, Jack Dorsey’s Square platform purchased Jay-Z’s Tidal music service for $297 million in cash and stock.
Rubin is currently transforming Fanatics to a digital sports company with a global focus that can service multiple sectors of the sports industry (merchandise and gambling, ticketing, and the NFT market). Fanatics will leverage its 80 million users tied to its merchandise division.
In 2020, Fanatics acquired additional businesses to improve its operations. Fanatics also began operations in China in order to increase its value from $6.2 billion in August 2020, to $12.8 million last March.
Last December, Fanatics purchased sports manufacturer WinCraft to increase its presence with non-apparel merchandise. WinCraft sells merchandise that is sports-themed for home, office, and automobile, including clocks, banners, and other accessories. This move allowed WinCraft to expand its vertical commerce business as well as strengthen its manufacturing and distribution capabilities.
Both the MLB and National Football League benefit from higher valuations. In 2017, both leagues invested $150 million in Fanatics. The $350 million increase resulted last year in a $100 million equity boost in Fanatics’ holdings.
Fanatics is increasing its stake in sports, fueling speculation that an IPO may be on the horizon. However, Fanatics continues to downplay the possibility of entering the public sector.
Asked about its plans on Daily Reuters “Squawk Box” last March, Rubin responded: “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 are focused on building a company. However, I believe we are well-financed and have plenty of growth capital to keep growing.”