Topps to go public through SPAC deal as baseball card company ventures into NFTs

Topps trading playing cards are organized for a photograph in Richmond, Virginia.

Jay Paul | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

Topps, which is most efficient recognized for its baseball playing cards and Bazooka candy line, has agreed to head public via a merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Company II, a special plan acquisition company, that values Topps at $1.3 billion.

Dilapidated Disney CEO Michael Eisner will protect on as Topps’ chairman. Mudrick Capital and funds and accounts managed by Gamco Traders and Wells Capital Management are anticipated to speculate an further $250 million in the SPAC. Non-public fairness firm Madison Dearborn Companions intends to promote most of its possession in Topps, but Eisner’s firm The Tornante Company will roll its whole fairness stake into the unique mixed company.

The deal is anticipated to end in the behind second or early third quarter. The mixed company will doubtless be known as Topps and can trade on the Nasdaq below the ticker TOPP. The Fresh York Cases’ Dealbook was once the principle to file the deal.

Eisner said on CNBC’s “Mutter Box” on Tuesday that Topps opted to head public via a SPAC thanks to the flexibility and restricted distraction to management.

Topps’ accept gross sales rose 23% in 2020 to $567 million, a file excessive for the corporate. Whereas Topps is most efficient recognized for its sports trading playing cards, it has branched out into interactive mobile apps to join collectors and not too lengthy previously expanded into nonfungible tokens. Ownership of an NFT is recorded on a blockchain, such as the networks that underpin cryptocurrencies. Each and every NFT is outlandish and might perchance per chance well’t be duplicated, capable take care of proudly owning an customary painting or a rare baseball card.

“Right here is the icing on the cake, going digital fully, with the analog mild in command,” Eisner said.

Diverse corporations, including Taco Bell and Atari, bear additionally jumped on the NFT bandwagon. Funko, which makes collectible vinyl collectible figurines, not too lengthy previously bought an NFT start-up to again it navigate the unique type. Nonetheless Eisner said that the deal was once struck prior to the hot explosion in NFTs, which has additionally integrated mountainous sports moments. In behind February, Trim Labs said buyers had already spent more than $230 million procuring and trading highlights from the Nationwide Basketball Association.

Topps additionally has a present playing cards trade below the title Topps Digital Products and services, where it in actuality works with corporations take care of Netflix, Airbnb and Nike. Its candy segment contains iconic brands take care of Bazooka, Ring Pop and Child Bottle Pop and accounts for 35% of gross sales.