May 6, 2022 - Economy & Business

Chernin, Rich Paul and others take 25% stake in Funko

Funko dolls.

The author's office desk. Photo by Emma Primack.

The Chernin Group agreed to lead a $263 million investment for a 25% stake in collectible toymaker Funko (Nasdaq: FNKO). Other members of the group include eBay, Bob Iger, Rich Paul and limited partners in TCG funds.

Why it matters: This is about the evolving relationship between content and merchandising.

  • It used to move almost entirely in one direction (make a movie, then make figurines/etc. of the IP), but now it's more of a two-way flow (e.g., Lego movies, upcoming Barbie movie, etc.).
  • Don't be surprised is Funko "characters" on a streaming service or the big screen. Plus, of course, NFTs...

Backstory: TCG has a long history with toy and games companies (e.g., Exploding Kittens), and partner Jesse Jacobs says the firm first identified Funko as an opportunity around two years ago. But the company demurred, since its shares were in the toilet.

The two sides remained in touch, and began working on this deal when existing backer Acon Investments — which bought Funko in 2015 — was looking to exit its remaining stake (80% of this deal involves Acon shares).

Go deeper: Inside Chernin's play for Funko

Go deeper