Fanatics Holdings Inc., a privately held sports apparel and collectibles company expanding into new digital business lines such as gaming and betting, has named Gregg Winiarski as its new chief legal officer.
Winiarski has been an adviser to Fanatics since retiring more than two years ago as the top lawyer for Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActivCorp. He will now oversee legal affairs across the entire Fanatics enterprise, which is comprised of three distinct businesses: commerce, collectibles, and betting and gaming.
Fanatics said in a Wednesday statement announcing Winiarski’s hire that he played a “significant role” in the company’s $500 million acquisition last year of Topps trading cards. In May, Fanatics said it would pay $150 million to buy the US operations of PointsBet Holdings Ltd. That deal came a month after the company said it would acquire Epi, an Italian sports merchandising outfit.
Winiarski, who began his legal career as an associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom after working as an accountant at EY, wasn’t available for immediate comment about his decision to join Fanatics full time. In December, the company raised funds at a $31 billion valuation.
Michael Rubin, the billionaire chief executive of Fanatics, said in a statement that Winiarski brings to the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company two decades of mergers and acquisitions, regulatory, and compliance expertise. “He will be an invaluable asset as we scale our collective businesses to become the leading digital sports platform for fans worldwide,” Rubin said.
Bloomberg News reported last year on conflicts forcing Rubin to sell his stake in the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team as Fanatics expanded its financial ventures in the professional sports world. Earlier this year, Fanatics sold most of its stake in Candy Digital, a collectibles company specializing in non-fungible tokens, to a group led by existing investor Michael Novogratz.
Winiarski, who received more than $22 million in total compensation in his last year at IAC, is the latest in a string of executive hires made by Fanatics as it branches into new businesses.
Fanatics announced last year its addition of general counsel Shiri Ben-Yishai, a former top lawyer for Ronald Perelman’s holding company MacAndrews & Forbes Inc. Ben-Yishai didn’t respond to a request for comment about her role, nor did a Fanatics spokesman.
The company’s website shows that Ben-Yishai is now general counsel for its collectibles business. In January, Fanatics recruited former Uber Technologies Inc. associate general counsel Jane Pollack to be senior vice president of legal for its betting and gaming unit, whose chief business officer is Aron “Ari” Borod, a former in-house lawyer at FanDuel Inc.
Fanatics also brought on Melissa Bengtson last year from Scientific Games Corp. to serve as its corporate secretary and chief of corporate and governance affairs. Matthew Mao was hired from Hillspire LLC to be a senior vice president of legal, while former Covington & Burling associate Lauren Wiseman came aboard as a director of legal for the company’s betting and gaming business.