Fanatics 'lands $1bn in investment from Softbank'
Fanatics, the online sports gear retailer, has secured $1 billion in investment from SoftBank Group, the Japanese telecoms firm, it has been reported.
According to USA’s Wall Street Journal, SoftBank’s Vision Fund will be part of a round of funding that will close later this month.
It is claimed that the investment will take Fanatics total valuation to $4.5 billion.
Fanatics' tie-ups in sport include a global e-commerce deal with sailing's America's Cup, a merchandising and licensing deal with basketball's NBA, and a replica jersey agreement with ice hockey's NHL.
Earlier this year, the company acquired the licensed sports group business of VF Corp, the USA-based apparel licensing company, and its subsidiary Majestic Athletic, the Pennsylvania-based sportswear company.
Majestic Athletic has been a long-time partner of Major League Baseball, but its deal to serve as the official uniform supplier of the league is set to expire at the end of the 2019 season when Baltimore-based Under Armour begins a 10-year contract with the league's 30 teams.
That agreement also involves Fanatics, which is an existing partner of MLB, as the company has acquired consumer product licensing rights to manage the manufacturing and distribution of Under Armour and Fanatics fan gear, which includes jerseys for sale, name and number products and post-season apparel.