Fantex To Hold First Athlete-Brand IPO


Fantex Inc (OTCMKTS:ANFRL) is finally going to hold its first IPO, this time touting San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, reports William Alden for The New York Times. The company is offering shares meant to represent a share of Davis’ future income, though the stock carries a number of risks that normal equities don’t.

Previous Fantex IPO prevented by injury

Fantex Inc (OTCMKTS:ANFRL) is selling 421,000 shares at $10 per share according to the company’s press release, and the total value of those shares will be equal 10% of Davis’ lifetime earnings, so the football player needs to earn $42 million from here on for investors to break even. That’s not impossible – Davis was a first round draft pick and he’s made tens of millions so far, but he’s also pushing 30 in a sport that doesn’t have many older players. Fantex had previously meant to hold an IPO for Houston Texan running back Arian Foster, but an injury forced them to delay the deal. If that injury had come after the scheduled IPO instead of before it, a lot of people may have lost their shirts.

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As Fantex Inc (OTCMKTS:ANFRL) writes, “Investing in shares of Fantex Vernon Davis should only be considered by persons who can afford the loss of their entire investment.”

Shares are really an investment in a startup

Sports less prone to debilitating injuries may seem like a safer investment than football, but that’s not the only source of risk. Fantex Inc (OTCMKTS:ANFRL) is doing everything on the up-and-up, filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission and so forth, but the notion that you are buying a portion of Davis’ future income is mostly marketing.

“Fantex Vernon Davis is intended to track and reflect the separate economic performance of the brand contract that Fantex, Inc. has signed with Vernon Davis,” the company writes. “However, holders of shares of Fantex Vernon Davis will have no direct investment in that brand contract, associated tracking series brand or Vernon Davis. Rather, an investment in Fantex Vernon Davis will represent an ownership interest in Fantex Inc (OTCMKTS:ANFRL) as a whole, which will expose holders to additional risks associated with any other tracking stock that Fantex, Inc.”

In other words, an investment in the Fantex Vernon Davis stock isn’t an investment in Vernon Davis the star athlete but in Fantex, the unproven startup. Also, the shares won’t be tradable on any normal exchange. They’ll be tradable on Fantex’s own exchange with no guarantee of liquidity. With so many caveats it’s hard to imagine the company will be targeting sophisticated investors in its road show set to start up this week.