Iconic sports and trading card brand Topps is set for an IPO (initial public offering, when members of the general public are first invited to buy a company's stock), valued at $1.3 billion and backed by company chairman Michael Eisner, the former CEO of the Walt Disney Company. move comes following a merger with Murdick Capital Acquisition Corp., an investment firm in the mold of the "SPAC" (special purpose acquisition company), a popular investment vehicle also known as a "blank check company." These are shell corporations listed on a stock exchange with the purpose of acquiring a private company, transforming it into a public company without going through the traditional IPO process.
Murdick is expected to generate proceeds of a little under $600 million, according to Deadline, giving Topps a quick burst of $250 million from Murdick and other corporate investors. Topps will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "TOPP."
Topps, a trading card and gum company, was founded in 1938 after breaking away from its failing original parent company, American Leaf Tobacco. Originally just a gum company, Topps entered the sports card market in 1951. Until 1992, each pack of Topps baseball cards came with a stick of gum, separated from the cards by a piece of gray cardboard.
Tornante bought Topps for $385 million in 2007, taking it private years after its previous IPO. In 2012, Topps Digital launched, bringing digital cards to life. It's digital products that seem likely to be the future of the company, as Topps is being talked about given the potential financial upsides of the company getting into the burgeoning NFT market. NFT has been driving a ton of interest in digital cards -- something that seems to finally have figured out a way to undo some of the damage that the internet has done to the traditional sports card market. After all, who needs a set of baseball cards to flip through and look for stats when you can turn to your phone and ask Siri how many wins Justin Verlander had in 2017?
SPACs are almost always bad for retail investors, with studies and reporting by CNBC suggesting that while there can be outsized returns for early or institutional investors, SPAC investments are often bad for anybody who comes in after the initial bubble of the IPO. The value of Mudrick stock has risen about 15% today on the news.