Fanatics Acquires Topps Sports and Entertainment Divisions
It’s official. Fanatics has acquired Topps. The deal includes Topps’ sports and entertainment divisions that are responsible for producing trading cards, both digital and physical, as well as other collectibles.
No jobs are being lost in the acquisition with Fanatics retaining all of Topps’ approximately 350 employees around the world.
“With trading cards and collectibles being a significant pillar of our long-term plans to become the leading digital sports platform, we are excited to add a leading trading cards company to build out our business,” said Michael Rubin, Fanatics CEO. “Their iconic brand, commitment to product excellence and passionate employees worldwide will allow us to immediately serve our league and players’ association partners and our fans.”
With the purchase of Topps, Fanatics can now start producing baseball cards immediately. They had been poised to take over the exclusive MLBPA license in 2023 after current deals expired. Topps had the MLB exclusive deal locked up for a couple of more years after that so Fanatics wouldn’t have been able to produce fully licensed baseball cards until 2026.
All of Topps’ existing deals including Formula 1, UEFA, Bundesliga and Major League Soccer bring even more sports into Fanatics’ trading card portfolio.
Fanatics also has exclusive deals with the NBA, NBAPA and NFLPA once current ones with Panini run out.
Although terms of the sale were not disclosed, reports suggest it was for around $500 million. The sale does not include Topps’ candy or gift card businesses.
Led by Michael Eisner, Madison Dearborn and The Torante Company purchased Topps in 2007. They had been poised to merge with Mudrick Capital in August to take Topps public. However, when word came out that Fanatics would be taking over in baseball just a couple of weeks before a scheduled vote, the merger was called off.
Although Fanatics hasn’t gone into specifics of how they’ll be running Topps and their trading card business, collectors can expect more direct products and opportunities. The company has also said that they are committed to hobby shops as a catalyst for market growth.