Topps, one of the world's premier trading card manufacturers, recently announced its intention to pursue a public offering following an explosion in the digital market.
In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box on Tuesday, Topps chairman Michael Eisner said the sports and entertainment side of the business (the company also produces confections like gum) is 25% digital and growing. Eisner said the explosion of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, on blockchains will “likely appeal to everybody” as the firm goes public.
“The digital [side of the business] is growing really fast,” said Eisner:
“With blockchain, we’re going to be able to participate in the secondary market. Before, we only participated when we put the analog cards out.”
Topps plans to go public through the merger of a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. In this case, Mudrick Capital, which is already listed on Nasdaq, would acquire Topps. This could effectively bypass the traditional initial public offering route. The SPAC reportedly values Topps at $1.3 billion, with the deal expected to be finalized this year.
Eisner, former CEO of The Walt Disney Company, purchased Topps through his investment firm and Madison Dearborn Partners in October 2007. The Topps chairman said he bought the company “with the goal of making it digital.“
“This is the icing on the cake — going digital completely, with the analog still in place.”
As cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology became more well known, the company’s digital arm has jumped into the NFT space with the creation of trendy digital collectibles. In January, Topps Digital released NFTs featuring Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (and his winter mittens) at the 2021 presidential inauguration ceremony.