Jan 4, 2022 - Sports

Fanatics buys trading card business Topps for around $500 million

Illustration of a wallet with a baseball trading card inside of it.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fanatics agreed to buy the trading cards and collectibles business of Topps for around $500 million.

Why it matters: Topps must feel like a baseball card stuck to a bicycle spoke. The industry pioneer last year agreed to go public via SPAC at a $1.3 billion valuation, but the merger was scrapped after Topps lost its exclusive licensing deal with Major League Baseball to Fanatics, which has yet to print a single card.

Cap tables: Fanatics formed its collectibles unit last summer, via a $350 million investment from Silver Lake, Insight Partners and Endeavor.

  • Topps, which will retain its candy and corporate gift cards assets, is backed by Madison Dearborn Partners and Michael Eisner's Tornante Co.

Sigh: My late grandfather founded and ran a printing company that had the Topps contract for much of the 1950s, which means he could have stashed away dozens of the 1952 Mickey Mantle card that now sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sadly, he didn't save any (yes, I checked ... repeatedly).

Bottom line, via Axios Kendall Baker: Fanatics took Topps' contracts, then gobbled them up. Call the principal, that's bullying.

Go deeper: Fanatics Trading Cards raises $350 million

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