Sportswear retailer Fanatics has partnered with hip-hop mogul Jay-Z and music artists Meek Mill and Lil Baby to buy vintage sports jersey maker Mitchell & Ness for a reported $250 million. Maverick Carter, LeBron James’ business partner, also invested in the deal. The ownership group reportedly also includes the D’Amelio family, known as the “first family of TikTok.”
Fanatics, the biggest maker of NBA, NFL and MLB jerseys, will own 75 percent of Mitchell & Ness. The investor group will own the rest.
Philadelphia-based Mitchell & Ness was launched in 1904, making official team uniforms. In 2016, Juggernaut Capital Partners purchased Mitchell & Ness from Adidas for about $50 million, The New York Post reported. The company is known for its throwback jerseys, which sell for $100 to $400, The New York Times reported. It has licensing deals with the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and several NCAA universities.
In 2021, Mitchell & Ness turned a $70 million profit and had $350 million in sales, Boardroom.tv reported.
Jay-Z said in a statement that he was “proud to play a small role in bringing it back and, in some cases, introducing the authenticity and quality of the Mitchell & Ness brand to a new generation.”
Fanatics was valued at around $18 billion in 2021, after a $322 million funding round from investors, including Jay-Z, The Wall Street Journal reported. In January, it bought the Topps trading card business, which was reportedly valued at $500 million.
Jay-Z is worth is a reported $1 billion, while reportedly Meek Mill has an estimated new worth of $20 million, Lil Baby’s net worth is at $4 million, and Maverick Carter’s is around $50 million.
“Growing up as a kid in Philadelphia, we looked at Mitchell & Ness as a badge of pride, and I truly believe this legendary brand has no limit,” Fanatics chief executive Michael Rubin said in a statement.
He added, “I’m incredibly excited for Fanatics to partner with this incredible group of innovative owners to build upon the company’s already strong business that has kept the brand culturally relevant for more than 100 years.”