The Chernin Group Buys $263M Stake In Toy Brand Funko

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

The Chernin Group Buys $263M Stake In Toy Brand Funko
Photo by Matthew Ball on Unsplash

A group of investors led by The Chernin Group (TCG) has taken a $263 million stake in Funko, the toy company best known for its licensed figurines of popular movie and TV characters.

Los Angeles-based TCG and its partners will own 25% of Funko once the transaction closes, the companies announced Thursday. Other investors in the group include e-commerce giant eBay, former Disney CEO Bob Iger and sports super-agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group.


Funko’s figurines—with their oversized heads, black eyes and missing mouths—have become hit pop culture collectibles traded on popular online exchanges like L.A.-based Whatnot. The company said its revenue climbed 58% in its 2021 fiscal year, to more than $1 billion, while its first-quarter revenue in fiscal 2022 was up 63% year-on-year.

"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,” TCG co-founder and partner Peter Chernin—a longtime executive at Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. before launching his eponymous investment firm in 2010—said in a statement.

As part of the deal, eBay will become the preferred secondary marketplace for Funko and the companies will also partner on exclusive product releases. Paul, meanwhile, will help Funko expand into sports and music.

TCG will appoint two directors to the toy company’s board, one of whom will be TCG co-founder and partner Jesse Jacobs. (The investment firm said it will name the other director at a later date.) Chernin and Iger—who has become an active startup investor since leaving Disney in 2020—will advise Funko’s board. TCG focuses its investments on consumer brands in media, tech and entertainment; its portfolio companies include L.A.-based card game Exploding Kittens, which is being turned into a Netflix TV show and video game.

"TCG 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,” Funko CEO Andrew Perlmutter said in a statement.

The TCG-led group acquired its stake in Funko by purchasing roughly 12.5 million shares of Funko stock, at $21 per share, from Washington, D.C.-based private equity firm ACON Investments.

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