Fanatics, the US-based online sportswear and equipment retailer, has acquired a significant portion of Topps, the trading card firm, it has been reported.
According to CNBC, Fanatics has paid roughly $500 million to complete the purchase, which will encompass Topps’ name along with its sports and entertainment division but not the Topps candy and gifts product line.
An announcement is expected later today (January 4).
It is suggested that, through the deal, Fanatics will obtain trading card rights to US baseball’s top-tier MLB immediately, with those rights currently belonging to Topps (although Fanatics was set to secure rights in 2025 anyway, with a deal having been struck in August 2021 when both were separate entities).
Topps also has deals in place with motor racing’s Formula 1, as well as top-tier soccer organizations such as Major League Soccer, European body Uefa, and Germany’s premier Bundesliga. These will also be passed onto Fanatics.
The firm did, however, in October last year, see its long-standing deal with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) promotion come to an end, being replaced by rival sports trading card manufacturer Panini.
The partnership with WWE dated back to 2005.
Topps was valued at $1.3 billion early last year through a prospective merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp, which eventually fell apart after Topps lost future rights to the top-tier MLB.
The firm, founded in 1938, was a public company up until 2007 when it was taken public following a $385 million deal.
Fanatics, meanwhile, already holds trading card license rights with the players association of American football’s NFL, as well as with the National Basketball Association, with both deals having been struck in 2021.
In October, Fanatics entered into an agreement with the International Olympic Committee, which will involve the IOC launching its own global merchandise store, which will give fans access to Olympic-branded merchandise in a single digital location.
The launch, which has come as the IOC marks the 1,000-day countdown to the next summer Olympics, Paris 2024, will give fans the ability “to purchase official Olympic and Paralympic Games merchandise produced by licensees and suppliers”, relating to the next three editions of the games – The Paris and LA28 Summer games, as well as the Milano-Cortina Winter Olympics in 2026.
The Olympic Shop will offer “the largest assortment of Olympic-branded merchandise to date”, with three core collections to be distributed through Fanatics’ on-demand manufacturing model and global supply chain.
In late September, Fanatics raised $350 million for its new trading cards subsidiary, which values the offshoot at $10.4 billion.