Topps Sold to Fanatics

E-commerce sports retailer Fanatics is set to acquire legendary trading card company Topps. News of the deal broke on Monday night via CNBC and an official announcement is expected sometime on Tuesday, January 4th. According to the report, specific terms of the deal were not yet available, but sources estimated that the deal is valued at around $500 million and will include only the Topps' name and sports and entertainment division. The company's candy and gift cards line are reportedly not included in the acquisition.

Fanatics' move to acquire Topps isn't a surprise to many who observe the sports memorabilia and licensing industry. Last year, Fanatics acquired licensing rights for the MLB, NBA, National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), and Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), prompting some observers to think that an acquisition of Topps was likely. Fanatics is already in place to replace Topps as the MLB's trading cards licensee in 2025, when Topps' deal expires.

Topps was founded in 1938. The company produced its first baseball cards in 1951and while the company did not invent the concept of baseball cards, they have long been the standard and are currently the only baseball card manufacturer with a contract with Major League Baseball. The company also produces cards for football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, soccer, and other sports as well as non-sports themed trading cards.

Fanatics was founded in 1995 and is an online retailer of licensed sportswear, sports equipment, and merchandise. The company operates the e-commerce sites for a number of major professional sports leagues as well as major media brands in addition to numerous collegiate and professional team properties.

According to CNBC, last year Topps was valued at $1.3 billion in a SPAC merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp. II, but that deal fell apart when Topps lost its MLB rights.

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