The licensed sports merchandise retailer says its global online sales are up 30% so far this year. The new funding brings Fanatics' valuation to $12.8 billion. 

Fanatics has some fans willing to invest more money in it. The licensed sports merchandise retailer just announced it raised $320 million, bringing the retailer’s valuation to $12.8 billion, more than double its previous valuation of $6.2 billion six months ago.

The retailer, which is owned by Kynetic LLC, No. 15 in the Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000, says this most recent round of funding all came from current investors. Silver Lake led the round, and Fidelity, Neuberger Berman, Franklin Templeton, Thrive Capital and Blackstone were among the other contributors.

The merchant also says global ecommerce sales are up 30% year over year so far for 2021 and online sales grew 20% year over year in 2020. And it forecasts total sales of more than $3 billion for this year. Fanatics sells online through its website at Fanatics.com, as well as through more than 300 online and offline stores. It operates the ecommerce sites for all the United States major professional sports leagues, major media brands such as NBC Sports, CBS Sports and Fox Sports, and more than 200 collegiate and professional sports teams. It also runs the ecommerce sites for several European football clubs and Japanese baseball teams. 80% of its sales are online, the company says.

Since its last funding round six months ago, Fanatics has acquired college headwear brand Top of the World and WinCraft, which sells novelty and other non-apparel sports products. It also signed a deal with sports hat retailer Lids and Barnes & Noble Education, in which Fanatics will operate 770 collegiate websites and bookstores through a joint venture with Lids. It also launched Fanatics China through a joint venture with Hillhouse Capital, a private equity firm in Asia.

Fanatics says it plans to use its new funds in part for additional mergers and acquisitions and to further expand internationally. In announcing this most recent funding, Fanatics also hinted at a possible IPO.  

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“While an IPO is clearly an available option to us, there is no update on any timeline,” a company spokesman says. “Our focus remains on building a great global company and strengthening our vertical commerce business model.”

 

 

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