By Krystal Hu
Jan 3 (Reuters) - U.S. sports merchandise retailer Fanatics has acquired the trading cards and collectibles business from Topps for about $500 million, as it looks to expand, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The deal gives Fanatics exclusive rights with Major League Baseball (MLB), accelerating Fanatics' original plan to release its trading cards in 2026. Fanatics' trading cards division was launched last year and has raised $350 million at a valuation of $10.4 billion.
Topps' owner, the Tornante Company, will keep its candy and corporate gift card business, the source said.
The trading card business at Topps reported $560 million in revenue last year. Its physical and digital cards sell in more than 100 countries, with physical operations in 10 countries, including the UK, Germany, Brazil, Italy and Japan.
Topps pulled its plan to go public through merging with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp. II at a $1.3 billion valuation last year, after MLB said it will not renew its trading card arrangement with the company and will sell the rights to Fanatics instead. (Reporting by Krystal Hu; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)