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Fanatics Now Valued at $12.8 Billion After Latest Round of Funding

NBA Store Fanatics
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Licensed sports merchandise retailer Fanatics has raised $320 million in new capital, bringing its valuation to $12.8 billion, according to Reuters, which cites sources close to the deal.

Fanatics is known for forging its own hybrid retail model, which it has dubbed “vertical commerce” — serving as equal parts tech company, logistics provider, manufacturer and ecommerce store. The company owns, designs, produces and distributes its own exclusive licensed sports merchandise, and also operates multi-channel commerce (ecommerce as well as physical stores, often in event venues) for more than 300 sports brands and leagues, including the NFL, MLB, NASCAR, the NBA and PGA.

To date, Fanatics has raised $2.4 billion in funding, according to Crunchbase, but the company has been coy in discussing its plans to go public. A company spokesperson told CNBC in February that while an IPO was an option, “there is no update on any timeline.”

The company’s latest funding round was led by private equity firms Silver Lake, Blackstone BX.N, Fidelity Investments, Neuberger Berman, Thrive Capital and Major League Baseball, all of which are existing investors in the company.

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The new capital will reportedly be used to expand Fanatics’ merchandise design and distribution model, grow its international reach and pursue mergers and acquisitions. Fanatics bought headwear licensee Top of the World in September 2020 and hardgoods sports merchandise manufacturer WinCraft in December 2020.

In February 2021, Fanatics also announced that it would be expanding into China through a joint venture with Hillhouse Capital, according to multiple sources.  

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