The 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, arguably the most iconic Topps trading card of all time. (Matt Dirksen/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images)
TRADING CARDS & COLLECTIBLES

Topps’ Plans to Go Public Via SPAC Deal Terminated in Fanatics Fallout

With the iconic trading card brand losing its baseball contract, the intended merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II has fallen apart.

Over 70 years, Topps lorded over the baseball card industry. Their cards brightened and illuminated the childhood households of countless millions over the decades, a quintessential American staple just like the sport of baseball itself.

Then came Thursday’s news that Major League Baseball’s exclusive trading card contract will go to Fanatics when Topps’ current contract runs out in 2025, rocking the collectibles market to its very core.

The other shoe then quickly and inevitably dropped, further putting Topps’ long-term plans in peril: Topps’ long-awaited effort to go public via a SPAC (Special Purchase Acquisition Company) with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II (MUDS) fell apart on Friday via what’s being called a termination “by mutual agreement.”

The Nasdaq-listed Mudrick Capital announced a SPAC merger with Topps back in April, valuing the iconic trading card brand at $1.3 billion. Topps said in a statement Friday that it’ll remain private following Mudrick Capital pulling out of its deal.

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

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On Wednesday, just a day before the Fanatics news dropped, Topps announced Q2 figures including a net sales increase of 77.7% year over year to $212.2 million. Net income grew 176.4%, with total 2021 net sales expected to be in the $830 to 850 million range.

Topps will still retain licensing deals with the NHL and MLS, but its premier offering for the better part of a century is going away. And the world of baseball cards will never be the same.

Multiple attempts to reach Topps via email for comment have yet to be returned as of Friday morning.

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