Topps Goes Public Through $ 1.3 Billion SPAC Deal


Topps announced plans Tuesday to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, in a deal that values ​​Topps at $ 1.3 billion. The company will be combined with a blank check signature called Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II, (Sludge) or SLUDGE. Shares of MUDS appeared more than 15% in the news.

The transaction also includes a so-called private investment in public capital (or PIPE) of $ 250 million.

Topps has been a publicly traded company multiple times in its 83 years in business. More recently, the company went private in 2007 by The Tornante Co., an investment firm run by former Disney (DIS) CEO Michael Eisner, in a deal worth $ 385 million.

Demand (and prices) for baseball cards and other collectibles have exploded lately due to the 21st century turn in business due to the new popularity of NFTs.

Topps recently expanded its business to sell digital editions of its player cards, each with a unique NFT built on blockchain technology. That creates scarcity value that makes them more desirable to collectors and more valuable.

Topps is “well placed with a universally recognized brand to capitalize on the rapidly emerging market for NFT collectibles,” Jason Mudrick, founder and chief investment officer of Mudrick Capital, said in the statement.

Eisner, who will remain Chairman of Topps after the SPAC merger is complete, added in the statement that there is “a strong emotional connection between the Topps brand and consumers of all ages.”

Topps has a “growing portfolio of strategic licensing partnerships” that will help make it profitable, he said. The company owns the famous Bazooka gum brand, as well as Ring Pop, Baby Bottle Pop and Juicy Drop candy and sour gel brands.

But given the current craze for collectibles, Topps’ core baseball card business is the main draw.

Dapper Labs, a Canadian blockchain firm that developed crypto collectibles company NBA Top Shot, recently raised more than $ 300 million from a group that includes basketball legend Michael Jordan and current star player Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets. Dapper, who also developed CryptoKitties, is now worth $ 2.6 billion, according to data from research firm CB Insights.

Wealthy investors are increasingly betting on sports business cards in addition to more traditional assets like stocks, bonds, and real estate.

To that end, an autographed 2000 rookie card for soccer legend Tom Brady sold for nearly $ 2.3 million at auction last week. That was a record price, breaking the previous record of more than $ 1.3 million set by another Brady rookie card just weeks earlier.

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