The Chernin Group invests $38.5 million in Classic Football Shirts

The Chernin Group (TCG) has invested $38.5 million in Classic Football Shirts, a United Kingdom-based company specialising in selling authentic soccer jerseys from around the world. The investment aims to help Classic Football Shirts expand its presence, particularly in the United States, as the country gears up to host the 2026 World Cup.

Transaction snapshot:

  • Deal value: $38.5 million
  • Deal multiples: N/A
  • Deal type: Growth equity
  • Investors: The Chernin Group (TCG)

Greg Bettinelli, a partner at TCG, described the investment as "significant" but declined to disclose the exact stake acquired. Classic Football Shirts' co-founders, Doug Bierton and Matthew Dale, will continue to run the business.

TCG sees tremendous potential in expanding Classic Football Shirts' presence in the United States, which currently accounts for about 15% of the company's revenue despite having no permanent brick-and-mortar retail presence in the country. Classic Football Shirts plans to open a permanent retail store in New York within the next 6 to 12 months and another in Los Angeles later this year.

The company generated more than $23.7 million in revenue and earned an operating profit of over $2.5 million for the 12 months ending June 30, 2022. Classic Football Shirts has been profitable since its founding in 2006 and had no outside investors until the recent deal with TCG.

Bierton and Dale started the company as 21-year-old students at the University of Manchester, aiming to make it easier for fans to buy soccer jerseys online. Over the years, they have formed partnerships with major brands and clubs to acquire jerseys, amassing a vast inventory of about 250,000 different shirts.

TCG believes in the immense potential of soccer culture, particularly in the United States, with the upcoming Copa America tournament, FIFA Club World Cup, FIFA World Cup, and the Olympics. The investment firm sees Classic Football Shirts as a market leader in a fast-paced and interesting market with significant growth opportunities.

While the company may consider expanding into other sports in the long term, its current focus remains on growing its soccer apparel business, especially in North America.

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