Sports ecommerce giant Fanatics has raised $350 million in what is expected to be its last round of financing before going public, according to someone familiar with the plans.
The new money values the company at $6.2 billion, the person said. The company did roughly $2.5 billion in sales in 2019.
Owned by billionaire Michael Rubin, Fanatics has become the dominant force in licensed sports apparel. It is an official e-commerce partner of all five U.S. leagues—including more involved partnerships alongside Nike with the NFL and MLB—and operates the online stores for more than 300 collegiate and pro sports teams. In recent years the company has been expanding its presence overseas, its licensing across college sports and its presence in memorabilia under its Fanatics Authentic banner.
The company initially set out to raise $250 million and ended up oversubscribed at $350 million, the person said. The round was led by Thrive Capital and Fidelity Management & Research Co., the investment advisor to Fidelity’s family of mutual funds. The other two investors in the round were Franklin Templeton and Neuberger Berman. News of the deal was first reported in the Wall Street Journal.
Fanatics’s previous funding was a $1 billion round, led by SoftBank, which closed in 2017 and valued the company at $4.5 billion. Other investors in the Jacksonville, Florida-based company include the NFL and MLB, Andreessen Horowitz, Silver Lake and Alibaba.
Fanatics was founded in 1995, but didn’t take its current form until Rubin purchased the company in 2011. Rubin rolled the company into GSI, sold GSI to EBay for $2.4 billion, then bought back its sports ecommerce business. It’s unclear how quickly the company plans to go public, or how it plans to do so.