Feb 26, 2021 07:52 PM

Online Sports Retailer Fanatics Makes Play for China Market

What’s new: U.S. licensed sports merchandize online retailer Fanatics Inc. is poised to tap into China’s market, as it plans to form a joint venture with Asia-focused private equity heavyweight Hillhouse Capital, Reuters reported.

The online retailer, which handles sales for more than 300 leagues and teams including the NBA and the NFL, plans to leverage Hillhouse’s local expertise to partner with China’s internet giants such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., in a bid to grow sourcing and licensing business and launch retail stores in China.

The joint venture will be based in Shanghai.

The background: Hillhouse, founded in 2005 by Zhang Lei, has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Singapore. It has previously backed retailer Topsports International Holdings Ltd., which in 2019 raised $1 billion in a Hong Kong IPO.

Fanatics was valued about $6.2 billion in August when it secured $350 million in its series E financing round.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Related: Private Equity Giant Hillhouse Sets Up 10 Billion Yuan Venture Fund

Contact reporter Timmy Shen ( and editor Heather Mowbray (

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