Topps SPAC Merger Collapses After Loss of MLB Trading-Card Deal

Business

The Wall Street Journal 20 August, 2021 - 10:03am 33 views

Will Topps still make baseball cards?

Topps, which was bought in 2007 by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner through his firm, The Tornante Co., said in a prepared statement on Friday that it will now remain private. Topps said that it expects to be able to make substantially all its current licensed baseball products through 2025. ABC NewsMLB to end 70-year partnership with Topps trading cards

Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II said Friday its SPAC merger with The Topps Co. "has been terminated by mutual agreement" because of Major League Baseball's decision to end a 70-year-old trading card deal with Topps.

The announcement for the Nasdaq-listed blank check company in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission came a day after news broke that MLB will not renew its trading card arrangement with Topps.

MLB is expected to give its trading card business to Fanatics, the sports retail company.

Topps' special purpose acquisition company merger with Mudrick, which had been announced in April, valued Topps at $1.3 billion.

MLB has partnered with Topps on baseball cards since 1952, getting a royalty on cards the company sells.

Topps, which was founded in 1938, said Friday it will remain a private company.

"Topps expects to be able to produce substantially all its current licensed baseball products through 2025, pursuant to its existing agreements, and will build on the exceptional performance in the second quarter of 2021 in its Sports & Entertainment segment, and its Confections segment," the company said.

Topps, which had been publicly traded before being taken private in 2007, retains licensing deals with Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League.

Murdrick's full statement Friday said: "Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II (Nasdaq: MUDS) announced today that the Agreement and Plan of Merger with Topps Intermediate Holdco, Inc. and Tornante-MDP Joe Holding LLC has been terminated by mutual agreement, after notification on August 19, 2021 from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association that they would not be renewing their respective agreements with The Topps Company when they come up for renewal at the end of 2025 and 2022, respectively."

Topps Chairman Michael Eisner, former CEO of The Walt Disney Company, had told CNBC's "Squawk Box" in the spring that Topps chose to go public again via a SPAC because of the flexibility of such a mechanism and its limited distraction to management.

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Read full article at The Wall Street Journal

MLB will end 70-year deal with trading card company Topps

CNBC 20 August, 2021 - 01:10pm

Major League Baseball will abandon Topps as its partner for trading cards, ending a relationship that's been in place since 1952.

Fanatics, the company that makes sports apparel, is expected to get the trading card deal instead, according to two people familiar with the matter. Fanatics and MLB declined to comment.

MLB renewed its deal with Topps in 2018, and the existing deal ends in 2025. The MLB Players Association deal also aligns with the league, so its deal would end, too.

In the agreement with Topps, MLB gets a royalty on products sold with its intellectual property. Baseball departing is a blow to Topps as the powerhouse announced it would go public last April. The trading cards company entered a SPAC merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp. II, which is listed on the Nasdaq, valuing Topps at $1.3 billion.

Topps was a public company before being taken private following a $385 million deal in 2007. The company was founded in 1938 and became well known for its distribution of trading cards, including the 1952 Mickey Mantle card which sold for $5.2 million last January. With MLB out, Topps is left with licensing deals with leagues including Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League.

Meanwhile, MLB will turn to Fanatics in some capacity to produce physical trading cards. Fanatics plans to start a new trading card company and will give equity in the company to MLB and the MLB Players Association.

MLB already owns equity in Fanatics, and it recently give its NFT rights to Fanatics-owned Candy Digital. In addition, Fanatics already owns all of MLB's e-commerce rights, and wants to grow its business outside of sports merchandising, including sports betting.

Earlier this month, Fanatics secured a $325 million money raise to expand and is now valued at $18 billion.

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Johnson & Johnson CEO stepping down; MLB ending 70-year license deal with Topps trading cards

Yahoo Finance 20 August, 2021 - 01:10pm

Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II said Friday its SPAC merger with The Topps Co. "has been terminated by mutual agreement" because of Major League Baseball's decision to end a 70-year-old trading card deal with Topps.

The announcement for the Nasdaq-listed blank check company in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission came a day after news broke that MLB will not renew its trading card arrangement with Topps.

MLB is expected to give its trading card business to Fanatics, the sports retail company.

Topps' special purpose acquisition company merger with Mudrick, which had been announced in April, valued Topps at $1.3 billion.

MLB has partnered with Topps on baseball cards since 1952, getting a royalty on cards the company sells.

Topps, which was founded in 1938, said Friday it will remain a private company.

"Topps expects to be able to produce substantially all its current licensed baseball products through 2025, pursuant to its existing agreements, and will build on the exceptional performance in the second quarter of 2021 in its Sports & Entertainment segment, and its Confections segment," the company said.

Topps, which had been publicly traded before being taken private in 2007, retains licensing deals with Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League.

Murdrick's full statement Friday said: "Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II (Nasdaq: MUDS) announced today that the Agreement and Plan of Merger with Topps Intermediate Holdco, Inc. and Tornante-MDP Joe Holding LLC has been terminated by mutual agreement, after notification on August 19, 2021 from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association that they would not be renewing their respective agreements with The Topps Company when they come up for renewal at the end of 2025 and 2022, respectively."

Topps Chairman Michael Eisner, former CEO of The Walt Disney Company, had told CNBC's "Squawk Box" in the spring that Topps chose to go public again via a SPAC because of the flexibility of such a mechanism and its limited distraction to management.

Got a confidential news tip? We want to hear from you.

Sign up for free newsletters and get more CNBC delivered to your inbox

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Data is a real-time snapshot *Data is delayed at least 15 minutes. Global Business and Financial News, Stock Quotes, and Market Data and Analysis.

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