Fanatics Acquires Topps Trading Card Business for $500M
Fanatics has been making acquisitions and moves to become much more than just a supplier of sports merchandise. It's inked deals with Amazon to sell NFL apparel, acquired a hard goods supplier to expand beyond just apparel, and is now buying one of the biggest names in trading cards: Topps.
Sources told CNBC that the deal was worth roughly $500 million, and will include only the Topps name and sports entertainment division. Topps' candy and gift card line will remain independent of Fanatics.
It complements Fanatics' own trading card business, which CNBC valued at $10 billion. Last year, Fanatics actually beat out Topps for the rights to produce MLB trading cards beginning in 2026, but this acquisition makes it more or less immediate. Topps held the rights for 70 years.
Fanatics has reached an agreement to acquire the Topps trading card business, per @WSJ.
Topps terminated plans to go public via a $1.6 billion SPAC merger in August, after Fanatics secured card deals with MLB, the MLBPA, and others.
Now, Fanatics will acquire Topps altogether. pic.twitter.com/z8EAwstItk
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) January 4, 2022
Through this deal, Fanatics obtains the MLB's trading card rights, and will also get the rights for Major League Soccer, UEFA, Bundesliga and Formula 1, which all have active deals in place with Topps.
"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," Fanatics owner Michael Rubin told CNBC.
Fanatics does have plans to integrate Topps into its NFT business—at least it looks that way. Fanatics' Candy Digital has exclusive rights to produce MLB digital artwork, so it makes sense that Fanatics could use the Topps name and existing trading card business alongside its digital business, too. Think digital copies of real-world cards.
In the era of NFTs serving as digital trading cards so to speak, a company as high-profile as Fanatics acquiring a company known for tactile printed trading cards shows the value that remains for printed products.
How much would an NFT Honus Wagner card go for?