Michael Rubin, CEO of online retailer Fanatics, announced Wednesday he is selling his stake in Camden-based Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), which owns the New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers.
Rubin, who owns an estimated 10% equity stake in HBSE, has been part of the ownership group since 2011.
The move was widely anticipated as Fanatics continues expansion into the sports collectable and sports betting businesses, presenting conflicts with his ownership stake.
“As our Fanatics business has grown, so too have the obstacles I have to navigate to ensure our new businesses don’t conflict with my responsibilities as part-owner of the Sixers. With the launch of our trading cards and collectibles business earlier this year – which will have individual contracts with thousands of athletes globally – and a soon-to-launch sports betting operation, these new businesses will directly conflict with the ownership rules of sports leagues.
“Given these realities, I will sadly be selling my stake in the Sixers and shifting from part-owner back to life-long fan,” Rubin wrote on Twitter.
Josh Harris and David Blitzer, managing partners of HBSE, expressed support for the decision of their friend and business partner.
“Given Michael’s tremendous success growing Fanatics into a global platform across every major sport, his decision doesn’t come as a surprise. I am so grateful for his years of partnership. His fierce passion, entrepreneurial mindset and steadfast commitment to doing the right thing have left an indelible mark on the Sixers organization. Michael will always be a member of our HBSE and Sixers family, continue to be a presence courtside and a key partner in our collective commitment to be a force for good in Philadelphia,” said Harris in a statement.
“Michael is a visionary and innovator who has played an integral role in helping us grow and position HBSE for future success. He has been an incredible friend and business partner over the last 11 years and his instincts, work ethic, passion and ability to bring people together have helped establish him as one of the industry’s most influential and successful leaders,” said Blitzer. “Michael has used those same attributes to help us evolve and grow, all while becoming a driver of positive, inspiring change in our communities. As he prepares for this new chapter in his career, I’m excited to watch Michael further revolutionize the Fanatics business, unlocking its full potential by connecting sports fans from around the world through a multitude of new platforms and verticals.”
Rubin has an estimated net worth of $8 billion, according to Forbes, while Fanatics has been valued at more than $20 billion.