Topps trading cards are set up for a photo in Richmond, Virginia.
Jay Paul | Bloomberg | fake images
Topps, which is best known for its baseball cards and Bazooka candy line, agreed to go public through a merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II, a special-purpose acquisition company, which values Topps at $ 1.3 billion. .
Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner will remain as Topps chairman. Mudrick Capital and funds and accounts managed by GAMCO Investors and Wells Capital Management are expected to invest an additional $ 250 million in the SPAC.
The deal is expected to close late in the second or early third quarter. The combined company will be called Topps and will trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol “TOPP.” The New York Times Dealbook was the first to report on the deal.
Topps’ net sales increased 23% in 2020 to $ 567 million, a record for the company. While Topps is best known for its sports trading cards, it has branched out into interactive mobile apps to connect collectors and recently expanded into non-fungible tokens, a new type of digital asset. The ownership of an NFT is registered on a chain of blocks, similar to the networks that support cryptocurrencies. Each NFT is unique and cannot be duplicated, just like having an original painting or a rare baseball card.
Other companies, from Taco Bell to Atari, have also jumped on the NFT bandwagon. Funko, which makes collectible vinyl figures, recently bought an NFT startup to help it navigate the new trend. But executives told Dealbook that the Topps deal was not due to its recent expansion into NFT, although sports-related NFTs have increased. In late February, Dapper Labs said consumers had already spent more than $ 230 million buying and trading National Basketball Association highlights.
Topps also has a gift card business by the name of Topps Digital Services, where it works with companies like Netflix, Airbnb, and Nike. Its candy segment includes iconic brands such as Bazooka, Ring Pop, and Baby Bottle Pop.
Tune in to CNBC at 8:15 am ET for an interview with Michael Eisner, former Disney CEO and current chairman of Topps, and Jason Mudrick, founder and chief investment officer of Mudrick Capital Management.