More pieces are falling into place now that Fanatics has reached an agreement to buy Topps. Fanatics acquired the future MLB/MLBPA licensing rights in August 2021, setting into motion a huge change in the hobby. There were still questions about how this would play out, though. The Topps deal allows Fanatics to start card production much sooner than expected and provides an established card brand to work with.
Fanatics has also secured card exclusives with the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).
According to CNBC, the purchase price comes in at around $500 million for Topps' sports and entertainment lines. Topps had planned to go public via SPAC at a valuation of $1.3 billion.
The deal also includes Topps' existing licenses for UEFA, Formula One, Bundesliga, and Major League Soccer cards.
Fanatics CEO, Michael Rubin, confirmed that the sale involves the acquisition of 350 Topps employees, as well.
Speaking with the Wall Street Journal, Rubin added, "We wanted to start with a foundation that was in place. That’s a much better approach than building this from scratch. We have a vision to expand and do new things to grow new businesses. A lot of times we’ll look to, ‘Is it faster to build pieces or to buy pieces?’ And if it makes more sense to buy, we’re very happy to do that."
— Cardboard Connection (@sportscards) January 4, 2022
However, per Forbes, there could be potential roadblocks based on antitrust laws.
— Marc Edelman (@MarcEdelman) January 4, 2022
Topps' candy and gift card lines are not part of the Fanatics sale. These are being rebranded as The Bazooka Companies, Inc.