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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

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Jan 5, 2022 - Sports

Fanatics bets big on trading card boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Fanatics has acquired Topps' trading card and collectibles business for roughly $500 million, according to people familiar with the deal.

Why it matters: Fanatics, the world's largest seller of licensed sports apparel, is now the dominant player in the booming trading card space, and home to the hobby's most iconic brand.

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America
  3. Politics: Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker
25 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Schumer pushes for doomed filibuster changes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer addressed reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told the Democratic caucus Tuesday night he plans to propose instituting a one-time "talking" filibuster requirement, and bypassing the 60-vote threshold for major legislation, to pass the party's election reforms package via simple majority.

Why it matters: While Schumer acknowledged both votes are expected to fail — and some vulnerable Democrats up for reelection feel it will put them in a tough spot — he argued it's worth putting members on the record for historic legislation.