Baseball card maker Topps to go public in $1.3 billion deal

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Baseball cards, Bazooka bubble gum and SPACs go together now.

Topps, the iconic sports trading card manufacturer, said Tuesday it plans to take itself public in a deal that values its business at $1.3 billion with the help of a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, called Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp.

SPACs, also known as “blank check” companies, are essentially pools of investor money that enable private companies to sidestep the traditional IPO process by merging with them.

The 80-year-old company will be traded on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol TOPP.

In the candy business, Topps owns the Ring Pop, Push Pop and Baby Bottle Pop brands. But in recent years, Topps also has expanded into mobile apps allowing fans to trade and play cards online and it recently expanded into non-fungible tokens, the company said.

Attendees open packs of trading cards at the Topps booth during the Opening Day of T-Mobile All-Star FanFest at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Friday, July 12, 2013, in New York City.
Attendees open packs of trading cards at the Topps booth during the Opening Day of T-Mobile All-Star FanFest at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on Friday, July 12, 2013, in New York City.
MLB via Getty Images

Demand for sports memorabilia has soared during the pandemic setting the stage for the biggest card deal ever in January when a 1952 Mickey Mantle Topps card sold for $5.2 million

Last year, the company said it generated record sales of $567 million, representing a 23 percent increase over 2019. 

Former Disney honcho Michael Eisner — whose investment firm acquired Topps in 2007 — will keep his role as chairman of the 80-year-old company and said he’s “not selling a single share of Topps stock in this transaction.” 

“The company will continue its long history of innovation and global expansion, bringing consumers the best of collectibles and confections products while successfully extending into new verticals and emerging categories to take advantage of digital content innovation and high growth opportunities across the globe,” Eisner added in a statement.

Tennessee Titans quarterback (8) Marcus Mariota signs football cards for Topps at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Saturday, May 30, 2015, in Los Angeles.
Tennessee Titans quarterback (8) Marcus Mariota signs football cards for Topps at the NFLPA Rookie Premiere at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Saturday, May 30, 2015, in Los Angeles.
AP Images for NFLPA

One of the company’s largest shareholders, Madison Dearborn Partners, will sell the majority of its stake in the company as part of the deal.

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