Fanatics valuation hits $31 billion after $700 million investment round

Fanatics CEO and co-chair Michael Rubin

Shareif Ziyadat | Filmmagic | Getty Images

Michael Rubin’s sports platform company Fanatics has raised $700 million in fresh capital, pushing its value to $31 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

The company plans to use the new money to focus on potential merger and acquisition opportunities across its collectibles, betting and gaming businesses, one of the people said.

Fanatics declined to comment.

The round was priced and led by a new investor, Clearlake Capital, in addition to LionTree. The existing investors in the new raise include Silverlake, Fidelity, and Softbank.

Fanatics was previously valued at $27 billion. In March, the company raised $1.5 billion led by Fidelity and Blackrock and Michael Dell’s MSD Partners.

Fanatics has seen rapid growth over the past year. What began as an e-commerce company selling sports gear has evolved into a sports powerhouse that has collected a database of more than 94 million fans.

It’s also been snapping up companies this year: In January, The Florida-based company expanded into the collectables business through its $500 million purchase of Topps. And in October, it purchased the iconic clothing brand Mitchell and Ness, in partnership with LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who hope to use their tastemaker status to revive the century-old brand.

This summer, Fanatics ventured deeper into collegiate sports, signing a long-term deal with Nike to manufacture college sports fan apparel. And last month, it signed Japan’s most popular baseball team, the Tokyo Giants.

Rubin now has his eyes on the sports gaming market. Fanatics is gearing up to launch sports gambling in 2023, joining an already crowded market. Yet, Rubin is optimistic, predicting in October at the Sports Business Journal’s World Congress of Sports Conference that sports betting and Fanatics’ other business segments could achieve $8 billion in annual profit in the next decade.

Revenue for Fanatics, including its Lids segment, will be approximately $8 billion in 2023, according to company estimates. That number excludes any trading card rights expected to come in the next few years.

The company is also weighing an initial public offering, and Rubin recently met with more than 90 internet, retail and gaming analysts from various Wall Street firms, where he spoke of Fanatics growth plans.

Fanatics ranked No. 21 on the 2022 CNBC Disruptor 50 list.

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