Home Private Equity Private equity firm buys 25% stake in Everett-based Funko

Private equity firm buys 25% stake in Everett-based Funko

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EVERETT — A Los Angeles-based private equity firm has acquired a 25% stake in Funko, the Everett-based toymaker.

The Chernin Group and other investors, including the former CEO and chairman of Disney, Robert Iger, and eBay, acquired more than 12.5 million shares of Funko at $21 a share for a total investment of $263 million.

The group is known for investments in technology and entertainment.

It’s more change for the pop-culture toymaker, which is headquartered in downtown Everett. It’s not clear what the Chernin stake might mean for the future of Funko in Everett.

In April, Funko closed an Everett distribution center and consolidated operations at a new facility it leases in Arizona.

With the buy-in, Chernin adds two directors to Funko’s board: Jesse Jacobs, Chernin’s co-founder and partner, and a second director to be named later.

Iger and Peter Chernin, the group’s CEO, will serve as advisors overseeing Funko’s board. Peter Chernin is a former Fox executive.

Under the deal, Funko and eBay entered into an agreement that makes eBay the preferred resale marketplace for Funko.

“We believe Funko is significantly undervalued in the public markets and at this highly attractive entry price provides a runway of opportunity and growth potential,” said Peter Chernin.

“There are many areas of identifiable growth across content, commerce, marketplaces, consumer products and technology that should drive substantial increases to Funko’s performance,” Chernin said in a statement.

Andrew Perlmutter, Funko’s new CEO, said the investment “validates Funko as a leading lifestyle brand with a pulse on what’s trending in pop culture. The Chernin Group is an ideal partner for Funko based on its expertise, deep understanding of the markets we serve, and track record of working successfully with companies in the pop culture and entertainment space to create value and drive growth.”

Chernin’s portfolio includes game maker Exploding Kittens; anime streaming service Crunchyroll; Hodinkee, which sells new and vintage watches; and The Pro’s Closet, an online store that sells used bicycles.

Funko went public in 2017 on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the stock symbol FNKO.

Founded in 1998 in Snohomish by Mike Becker, bobbleheads and coin banks based on retro characters and cereal mascots were among the early products.

In 2005, Becker sold the company to Brian Mariotti, who expanded the portfolio through licensing deals for popular characters from comics, movies and TV shows.

Funko debuted its signature Pop! line of vinyl figures in 2010.

Mariotti stepped aside as CEO last year but continues as a member of the board of directors. Perlmutter became CEO in January.

Funko grew revenue by 58% to over $1 billion in fiscal 2021.

For the first quarter of 2022, Funko reported revenue of $308 million, up 63% year over year, according to documents filed with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.


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