Topps, popular for its trading cards and Bazooka gum, is set to go public by combining with a blank-check company in a deal that values it at $1.3 billion, Sport Techie reported Wednesday.
Michael Eisner, the former chief executive officer of Disney who bought Topps in 2007 in a $385 million buyout, will retain Topps chairperson.
Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II, a special purpose acquisition company, is leading a $250 million investment in Topps to take the company public along with investors Gamco and Wells Capital.
Topps said it posted sales of $567 million last year, up 23% year on year.
The company, founded in 1938, has licensing deals with Disney, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League. Topps also provides gift-card offerings for companies including DoorDash, Airbnb and Netflix.
The 83-year-old baseball card company will be listed on the Nasdaq. The transaction is expected to be completed by the third quarter of this year.
Demand and prices for baseball cards and other collectibles have risen lately as a result of the 21st-century twist on the business from the newfound popularity of non-fungible tokens.
The company first marketed its sports digital collectibles apps in 2012 and has recently expanded its business to sell digital editions of its player cards, each with a distinct token built on blockchain technology.
"It is not a cannibalistic business at all because a lot of people collect for different reasons," Tobin Lent, general manager of Topps Digital, said in remarks quoted by Sport Techie.
"They collect a physical thing because they like the tactile feel of it. They want to put it up on their shelf. Digital, for us, so far has been very much about the community and being able to trade instantly with anybody all over the world," he said.