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Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin selling stake in company that owns Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils

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Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin, a prominent minority owner of the Philadelphia 76ers, is selling his stake in the Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment company that owns the Sixers and New Jersey Devils, he announced Wednesday.

Rubin, who sources say holds a 10% equity stake in HBSE, is divesting his 11-year stake in the NBA and NHL franchises because of looming conflicts in the expansion of his Fanatics business into sports betting and individual player partnerships.

“As our Fanatics business has grown, so too have the obstacles I have to navigate to ensure our new businesses don’t conflict with my responsibilities as part-owner of the Sixers,” Rubin said in a statement. “… Given these realities, I will sadly be selling my stake in the Sixers and shifting from part-owner back to life-long fan.”

Fanatics is a $20 billion-plus company that sells licensed professional and college merchandise online. The expansion into sports betting and negotiating individual partnership deals with pro athletes creates numerous conflicts with collective bargaining rules.

Prior to the Sixers-Brooklyn Nets trade involving guard James Harden in February, Rubin drew the scrutiny of NBA rivals because of his close relationship with Harden. Rubin can now enter outside financial partnerships with players that were disallowed because he was a part-owner of the teams, an avenue that could prove beneficial to the Sixers as they work to re-sign Harden.

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