Report: Fanatics to Buy Mitchell & Ness
Sports apparel company Fanatics is teaming up with rappers Jay-Z and Meek Mill and entrepreneur Maverick Carter and others to purchase Mitchell & Ness, maker of throwback jerseys and retro sports apparel. The group is paying $250 million, according to the someone familiar with the terms who spoke to The New York Times. Fanatics will own 75 percent of the company, while the other investors will combine to own 25 percent. Mitchell & Ness made about $70 million in profit off about $350 million in revenue last year, these people said. Kevin Wulff, the chief executive of Mitchell & Ness, will stay on as part of the deal, as will all 132 employees.
Total Retail's Take: This deal makes sense for both brands. Mitchell & Ness, founded in Philadelphia in 1904, is known for its throwback jerseys, which sell for $100 to $400. It already has licensing deals with the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and several NCAA universities. However, the brand has changed hands several times over the past decade and was looking for a place to land with a solid ownership group. Adidas, for example, acquired it in 2007, and then the private equity firm Juggernaut Capital Partners and Wulff bought it in 2016. Meanwhile, Fanatics, which was last valued by investors at $18 billion, is looking to expand its sports merchandise empire. It recently bought the trading cards business from Topps, and it has expanded into nonfungible tokens (NFTs), the digital, tradable art, and gambling. Acquiring Mitchell & Ness further enhances Fanatics' grip on the sports merchandise and apparel market.