Topps trades to Fanatics for $500 million
The Future. Former leading trading card company Topps is getting acquired by new leading trading company Fanatics, signaling a major sea change — not only in the trading card industry but also in people’s view of collectibles as an asset class. But considering that the acquisition pretty much turns Fanatics into a monopoly, a reinvigorated FTC may block the deal from happening.
There is only room on the shelf for one trading card company.
- Leading sports merch and memorabilia company Fanatics is buying the sports trading card arm of Topps for $500 million.
- The move comes after Fanatics snatched Topps’ exclusive claim to making cards for Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
- Topps had been the exclusive card home for MLB for 70 years.
- The move cratered Topps’ $1.3 billion plan to go public via a SPAC.
Topps’ other subsidiaries — such as candy and gift cards — are not part of the deal.
Fanatics’ acquisition is just the latest play by the company in its quest to become the collectibles champion. Besides its forays into trading cards, apparel, and memorabilia, it’s also making inroads in ticketing, online gambling, digital media, and (of course) NFTs.
With so much growth and so little competition, the government’s antitrust referees may get involved. Although the trading-card market isn’t huge, it’s growing at an unprecedented pace… and this merger — of the two top companies in the space — could attract some regulatory attention. It’s similar to how regulators blocked a 2017 Draftkings and FanDuel merger that would’ve led to a monopoly in fantasy sports.