A group of celebs that includes Jay-Z, Meek Mill and Lebron James business partner Maverick Carter is part of a reported $250 million deal to buy fashion brand Mitchell & Ness, the New York Times reported on Friday.
The deal is being led by Fanatics, an athletic wear and accessories brand that sells officially-licensed gear from the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, MLS and other sports leagues. Fanatics will reportedly own 75% of Mitchell & Ness, with Jay-Z and the other partners cut in on the remaining 25%.
The deal makes sense on a number of levels. Both companies sell licensed sports gear but Mitchell & Ness had gained cachet with influencers in music and entertainment. That clout has diminished some since the early 2000s but with the acquisition, Fanatics and Mitchell & Ness gain equity partners who are also tastemakers with their hands in music, TV, film, sports and other platforms.
The celebrity partners buying into the deal were already connected in some ways to either Fanatics or Mitchell & Ness.
From the New York Times
The brand has changed hands several times, with Adidas acquiring it in 2007 and the private equity firm Juggernaut Capital Partners and Mr. Wulff buying it in 2016. It joins other nostalgia brands, like Reebok, that have brought in new owners with plans to bring new life into them.
Jay-Z, who described himself “an early adopter” of Mitchell & Ness, 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.”
Jay-Z is already involved in Fanatics through his partnership on a forthcoming sports betting division. Meek Mill is a longtime friend of Michael Rubin, the chief executive of Fanatics, and worked alongside him and Jay-Z on a prison reform initiative.