The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, April 07, 2021 1:00 am

Cardmaker Topps to go public

MICHELLE CHAPMAN | Associated Press

In addition to its trading cards, fans will soon be able to trade shares of Topps.

The company said Tuesday that it will become a publicly traded company this year by tying up with a special purposes acquisition company, or SPAC.

Topps is pushing into digital sales, apps, cryptocurrency and even NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. Its subject matter has expanded to, among other things, comics, professional wrestling, Formula 1 and film.

Topps Co. said Tuesday that it will merge with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp., which will make a $250 million investment.

Topps was bought in 2007 by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner through his firm, The Tornante Co. Eisner will hold his position at Topps as chairman of the board. Michael Brandstaedter, CEO of Topps, will lead the company.

Companies have chosen to go public through SPACs at a record-breaking pace in the last year. SPACs are usually groups of investors who band together and look for acquisition targets. They can speed companies though the process of becoming publicly traded because the capital to do so has already been established. The initial investment of those larger investors are converted to publicly traded shares available to anyone.

Topps is an 80-year-old iconic brand and had sales of $567 million last year. The deal is expected to close this year and Topps will be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “TOPP.”

“The strong emotional connection between the Topps brand and consumers of all ages is truly foundational, and, when combined with our growing portfolio of strategic licensing partnerships, creates a profitable business model with meaningful competitive advantages,” Eisner said in a statement.

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