Fanatics, the online merchandise and equipment retailer, has raised a further $325 million to expand into new sectors, which raises the company’s valuation to $18 billion.
Investors in the funding round include Japanese telecoms company SoftBank Group, private equity firms Silver Lake, Insight Partners, and Eldridge, US rapper Jay-Z and his Roc Nation entertainment company, Major League Baseball and TWG Sports Media & Entertainment.
A previous $320 million funding round closed in March valued Fanatics at $12.8 billion. The company has raised a total of around $2.2 billion and claims it will make $3.4 billion in revenue this year.
The Florida-based company plans to focus on areas outside of merchandising and is seeking to enhance its presence in the gaming and sports betting market with the creation of a new division.
The division will be led by Fanatics chairman Michael Rubin, who will serve as chief executive as part of a company restructure.
Doug Mack, the current chief executive, will maintain his current responsibilities overseeing the e-commerce operations.
Fanatics has recently made multiple new hires to drive its expansion plans, bringing in Glenn Schiffman, the former chief financial officer of US media company IAC, former Los Angeles Dodgers president Tucker Kain and former FanDuel chief executive Matt King.
Kain joined as chief strategy and growth officer, while King is expected to help lead a sports gambling and gaming division.
As well as sports betting and gaming, the company is seeking to expand into media and ticketing, areas where Schiffman is set to play a key role.
Fanatics already expanded its operations into China earlier this year via a joint venture with Asian private equity fund Hillhouse Capital.
The firm also recently entered the non-fungible tokens space through digital collectibles start-up Candy Digital.
Candy Digital is backed by the retailer, Rubin, Mike Novogratz, founder and chief executive of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, and Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur and investor with an interest in the sector.
American football’s NFL, which acquired a 3 per cent stake in the retailer for $95 million, while MLB took a 1.5 per cent stake for $50 million. The vast group of Fanatics investors also include Alibaba Group, Fidelity Investments, the Boston-based financial services company, Thrive Capital, Franklin Templeton Investments and Neuberger Berman Group.
Fanatics has a strong retail presence within sports and has partnerships with several major properties including motor racing’s Formula 1, basketball’s NBA, ice hockey’s NHL, and European soccer giants Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid.