A deal to take the Topps Co. public has been scrapped after Major League Baseball said it won’t renew its exclusive, 70-year-old relationship with the trading-card company.
On Friday — a day after MLB announced its surprise decision to jilt Topps in favor of sports merchandising giant Fanatics — hedge fund Mudrick Capital said in a statement its deal to merge Topps with a “blank check” company to take it public “has been terminated by mutual agreement.”
Mudrick’s so-called special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, was expected to close its merger with Topps on Aug. 27 and to begin trading on the Nasdaq Aug. 30. People close to Topps say the company was only informed Thursday afternoon that MLB would end the deal that has been in place since 1952.
The deal — which had been announced in April at the height of the NFT craze — was valued at $1.3 billion. At the time, Topps said it planned to capitalize on demand for non-fungible tokens by selling baseball-related digital assets.
For now, Topps will remain private with longtime Disney honcho Michael Eisner as its chairman.
“Topps expects to be able to produce substantially all its current licensed baseball products through 2025, pursuant to its existing agreement,” the company said in a statement.
Topps also has other assets including a confectionery business that makes Bazooka bubble gum and Ring Pops.
The SPAC’s shares, which trade under the ticker symbol MUDS, dropped from close to $11 a share midday Thursday to under $10 a share on Friday, recently changing hands at $9.85.
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