Jay-Z Backed Fanatics Expands into the Auction World With Its PCWW Acquisition

With a star-studded group of investors and partners, Fanatics has been making major acquisitions in collectibles and sports betting.

Michael Rubin and Jay Z pose next to eachother wearing suit and dress shirt.
Michael Rubin (left) and Jay Z (right) in August of 2021. Getty Images for 40/40 Club

Fanatics, the fast-growing sports memorabilia company, is acquiring auction collectibles company PWCC for an undisclosed sum. All of PWCC’s 125 employees will be moved over to Fanatics, alongside its auction marketplace, technology and storage vault, as reported by ESPN.

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The purchase marks an entry into the auction industry for Fanatics, which began as an e-commerce platform selling sports merchandise and is now valued at $31 billion with ventures across clothing, collectibles and sports betting. The company is led by CEO Michael Rubin, who has an estimated net worth of $10.5 billion.

The PWCC acquisition is expected to tie into Fanatics Live, a new division focused on digital shopping for collectibles and trading cards that will launch in the first half of this year with an app and website. Nick Bell, the former global head of content and partnerships at Snap, will serve as the department’s CEO.

In 2021, Fanatics struck deals with the MLB, MLB Players Association, NBA, National Basketball Players Association and NFL Players Association for licenses to produce trading cards. The company also purchased trading cards company Topps, which had rights to leagues like Formula 1 and Major League Soccer, in a 2022 acquisition valued at $500 million.

Rubin’s company is poised to take advantage of the burgeoning sports collectible market, which was valued at $26 million in 2021 and is estimated to skyrocket in value to $227 billion by 2032.

A series of major acquisitions

PWCC is only the second deal for Fanatics in May, following its $150 million acquisition of the U.S. operations of sports betting operator PointsBet. As it expands into sports betting, Fanatics reportedly plans to invest $1 billion in the new division.

The company has also made significant moves in the merchandise industry with its purchase of sports clothing manufacturer Mitchell & Ness in 2022, which Fanatics acquired for $250 million alongside partners like LeBron James and Jay-Z.

Jay-Z and his entertainment company Roc Nation additionally participated in a 2021 investing round for the memorabilia company which raised $325 million. Other stars involved with the rising memorabilia player include Magic Johnson and Mindy Grossman, the former CEO of WW International, who are both on its board of directors.

The company’s most recent investment round in December of 2022 was led by Clearlake Capital and LionTree and brought in $700 million, with investors like Silver Lake, Fidelity and Softbank participating. Fanatics, which now has more than 100 million fans and more than 900 sports properties, is expected to earn $8 billion in revenue in 2023.

Fanatics did not respond to requests for comment.

Jay-Z Backed Fanatics Expands into the Auction World With Its PCWW Acquisition