By Lauren Hirsch, The New York Times
In a deal sure to reverberate across the collectibles industry, Topps is selling its famed sports card business for an undisclosed price to Fanatics, the sports brand steadily creating a licensing empire.
The deal includes Topps’ sports and entertainment business. In August, Topps lost its licensing agreement with Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association to Fanatics. That sudden loss of a decadeslong relationship killed Topps’ plans to go public and put its future in doubt.
Topps has been owned by Tornante, the investment firm owned by Michael Eisner, the former Walt Disney Co. CEO, and the private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners since 2007, when the two firms acquired it for $385 million.
Eisner said in a statement that “the strong emotional connection between Topps collectibles and consumers of all ages” would make it “a jewel in the Fanatics portfolio.”
All of the roughly 350 employees working in Topps’ sports and entertainment department will move to Fanatics. Topps sells its products in more than 100 countries, with physical operations in 10 countries.
Topps’ remaining business, which include Bazooka gum and gift cards, will now be called the Bazooka Cos. Those two divisions brought in more than $250 million of sales in 2021.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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