How's Michael Rubin's Fanatics doing?

Tom Paine

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Terry Lefton writes in SportsBusinessJournal on "How Rubin is rocking sports licensing".

Michael Rubin is Chairman of Conshohocken-based Kynetic LLC and of Jacksonville-based Fanatics. (Actually, Fanatics now calls Jacksonville its east coast headquarters and it new San Mateo office its west coast headquarters.)

"In a short period of time, Fanatics has rocked the traditionally sleepy licensing industry through its aggressive acquisition and distribution strategy, to the point where competitors sarcastically refer to the company as simply 'the F word,'" Lefton opens.

Lefton interviewed Rubin in Houston before the Super Bowl.

Rubin: Revenue was $1.4 billion in 2016 and Rubin hopes it will grow 30 to 40% in 2017.

Been profitable since 2011 but "still in investment mode".

From 2010 through last year, "we grew Fanatics’ sports licensed business 5x."

"Do I believe that eventually there will be an IPO? Yes". But not planning for one now. Rubin says he still owns 70% of Fanatics.

Investing heavily in technology. Supply chain ("creating a faster supply chain is critical — that’s a big investment"), personalization of online experience. Building fulfillment centers.

Rubin discusses what he didn't like about the way he built GSI Commerce, and how he changed the business model for Fanatics.

Fanatics' last reported valuation was $3.1 billion based on a 2013 financing, with backers like Alibaba and Andreessen Horowitz.

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John Donahoe was CEO of eBay when it acquired GSI Commerce in 2011. He left Michael Rubin with what turned out to be its most valuable business - Fanatics. How's Michael Rubin's Fanatics doing? OK.