With its latest funding round, Fanatics Inc.’s valuation has more than doubled — and speculation over a potential initial public offering continues to swirl.
The online retailer, which sells licensed sportswear, sports equipment and other merchandise, raised $320 million in new funding, giving it a valuation of $12.8 billion — up from $6.2 billion just over six months ago. The round was led by current investors Silver Lake, Fidelity, Neuberger Berman, Franklin Templeton, Thrive Capital, Blackstone and MLB.
According to sources close to the deal, the investment will be used to scale its vertical commerce division, as well as explore new mergers and acquisitions, expand internationally and pursue other business ventures.
Just last month, Fanatics announced its expansion into China through a joint venture with private equity firm Hillhouse Capital. It also acquired Vetta Brands’ Top of the World division, which produces hats for several hundred universities, as well as licensed sports hardgoods company WinCraft — both in the latter half of last year. (With the Top of the World and WinCraft deals, Fanatics went from being vertical in only apparel to vertical in apparel, headwear and hardgoods.)
Fanatics also has an existing partnership with Walmart, which inked a deal with the sportswear marketplace back in January 2019 that allows the big-box giant to sell officially licensed sports apparel and other fan gear through its website. The Fan Shop by Fanatics site stocks hundreds of thousands of items featuring professional sports leagues, such as the NBA, NFL, MLB, NASCAR and MLS.
Beyond reporting 2020 as its “best year in Fanatics history,” the Jacksonville, Fla.-based retailer suggested that 2021 has “gotten off to an even hotter start,” with global e-commerce increasing more than 30% year over year since Jan. 1. It added that revenues are expected to exceed $3 billion this year.
Fanatics also shared in a statement that its platform has access to the data of 80 million sports customers. The company is led by Michael Rubin, who serves as its executive chairman and co-owns the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team.
As for whether its next play is to go public, a Fanatics spokesperson told FN, “While an IPO is clearly an available option to us, there is no update on any timeline. Our focus remains on building a great global company and strengthening our vertical commerce business model.”