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Fanatics Inc. Closes $350 Million Investment Round

Fanatics is now reportedly valued at about $6.2 billion after raising about $1.5 billion since 2011.
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Sports retailer Fanatics Inc. has reportedly closed a $350 million investment round as the company gears up for an initial public offering.

Fanatics is now valued at roughly $6.2 billion after raising about $1.5 billion since 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

This Series E round, led by Fidelity Management & Research Co. and Thrive Capital, is expected to be the company's last private funding before it files for an initial public offering. 

The timeline for an IPO is unclear, the Journal reported. Follow TheStreet's IPO coverage on the latest IPOs happening in the stock market.

Other investors in the round include Franklin Templeton Investments and Neuberger Berman Group LLC.

Previous Fanatics investors include Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp.  (SFTBY) , which led a $1 billion round in 2017 that also included the National Football League and Major League Baseball.

The funding comes at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has almost completely shut down sporting events. The events that returned have done so slowly and mostly without fans attending.

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Online sales at Fanatics have increased by roughly 30% this year compared with last year as more people buy products online, according to the company.

Fanatics, however, expects a $20 million dollar hit to its bottom line caused by store closures and an absence of fans at sports venues, the Journal said.

The company made about $2.5 billion in revenue last year, compared with about $2 billion the year before.

Fanatics expects revenue to increase by a low double-digit percentage this year, although the pandemic has made forecasting more uncertain. 

About 80% of its revenue is through direct-to-consumer sales from or the more than 300 team and league sites the company operates, the people said.

Founded in 1995, Jacksonville, Fla.-based Fanatics is the official online retailer of licensed merchandise for the major U.S. sports leagues and more than 150 universities.

In April, Fanatics partnered with the NBA to make cloth face masks to combat the coronavirus pandemic.