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Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner to take trading card company Topps public in $1.3 billion SPAC deal

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·3 min read
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Former Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner is getting in on the SPAC boom

Eisner disclosed Tuesday that his firm The Tornante Company, which purchased trading card company Topps in 2007 for $385 million, will roll 100% of its equity into a new public entity dubbed Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II. The transaction will see the return of Topps to the public markets in a deal valued at $1.3 billion. Topps will trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "TOPP."

Mudrick Capital Acquisition II, a SPAC founded by Mudrick Capital's Jason Mudrick, will contribute $100 million to the deal. Mudrick recently rose to fame by reportedly scoring hundreds of millions of dollars in profits on debt and equity trades on AMC and GameStop during the meme stock frenzy earlier this year.

Eisner will remain chairman of the Topps board. Other high-profile names on the board will include Jill Ellis, coach of the U.S. Women’s 2014 and 2019 FIFA World Cup champions; Maria Seferian, general counsel of Hillspire LLC; and Marc Lasry, co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks and co-founder of Avenue Capital Group.

Topps' long-time CEO Michael Brandstaedter will continue to lead the company. 

“We are moving from an analog company to a digital company. We have tremendous earnings, great revenue and great cash flow. We'll be able to do M&A once we are public. It just seemed like the right time. We decided before this boom and blockchain that we are ready to go. Topps is the same financially as Disney was when we went in 1984. If we do 10% of Disney, that would be very good," Eisner said on Yahoo Finance Live

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 06:  A stack of San Francisco Giants First base Brandon Belt (9) Topps trading cards sitting in the dugout before the MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on August 6, 2019 in San Francisco CA. (Photo by Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 06: A stack of San Francisco Giants First base Brandon Belt (9) Topps trading cards sitting in the dugout before the MLB game between the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on August 6, 2019 in San Francisco CA. (Photo by Stephen Hopson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Topps is mostly focused on four areas of business at the moment: trading cards, stickers and albums sold via licenses with the MLB, Star Wars, World Wrestling Entertainment and others; digital card memorabilia; gift cards used to pay for services such as Netflix, Airbnb, Nike and Uber; and candy under popular brands like Bazooka and Ring Pop. Total sales in 2020 clocked in at a record $567 million, up 23% year-over-year.

Topps revealed it's pursing an entry into the surging NFT space, too. 

"This is not a distressed company by any means. We looked at a lot of opportunities. What really drew us to the Topps opportunity was the power of the brand. When we heard Topps was looking to go public, the first thing I did was run home and dig out all my old baseball cards which were in shoeboxes and buried back behind old shelves. All the guys I work with did the same thing. We found ourselves sitting around the table telling stories from 30 and 40 years ago," Mudrick said on Yahoo Finance Live.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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