It appears LeBron James continues to win even in the offseason. Reports have surfaced that his $1 million initial investment in Blaze Pizza has increased 35 fold.
Sources told ESPN that James, childhood friend and business partner Maverick Carter and financial adviser Paul Wachter of Main Street Advisors invested less than $1 million into Blaze Pizza, a fast-casual pizza chain, in 2012.
This valuation was confirmed when Blaze Pizza sold an undisclosed percentage of the company to a private equity firm, Brentwood Associates, which valued the company at around $250 million—and James and his partners own about 10% of that (around $25 million).
This amount does not include endorsement payments James gets for exposing the company to his 91 million followers across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, which bumps his stake to an estimated $35 to $40 million, sources told ESPN.
Earlier this month, Technomic, an industry consultancy firm, also highlighted how Blaze Pizza has also become one of the fastest growing fast-casual businesses over the past year.
Blaze’s pizza concept has grown from two California locations (Irvine and Pasadena) in 2012 to 200 locations around the country over the past four years, with the latest restaurant opening in a suburb of Cleveland--Mentor, Ohio earlier this month.