by Alex Weprin | HollywoodReporter.Com
Troy Warren #business-all
One of the drivers of the deal was the rise of NFTs and blockchain technology, which have become a growing business in the entertainment and collectibles industry.
Former Disney chief Michael Eisner has found his next deal.
Eisner will take the trading card and collectibles company Topps public through a deal with the Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corporation II.
Eisner’s Tornante company bought Topps in 2007 with Madison Dearborn Partners for $385 million. The deal announced Tuesday values Topps at $1.3 billion. Eisner, who said in a statement that he will not sell any of his shares in Topps after the deal is complete, will stay on as chairman of the public company. Michael Brandstaedter will remain CEO.
While Topps is best known for its baseball cards, which it has been producing since the 1940s, it also owns the Bazooka bubble gum brand (which in turn owns confectionaries like Ring Pop), as well as trading card rights to the WWE, UEFA, Bundesliga, Major League Soccer and The Walt Disney Company, including brands like Star Wars.
Now, as a public company, it plans to get into the red-hot non-fungible token (NFT) market, with Mudrick Capital founder Jason Mudrick saying it “is well situated with a universally recognized brand to capitalize on the fast emerging market for collectible NFTs.”
Eisner told CNBC Tuesday that NFTs and blockchain technology will allow the company to “participate in the secondary market” for its collectibles, which have exploded over the past year or so.
“The company today is in the exact same financial position that Disney was in 1984 when I went there, to the dollar,” Eisner said. “If we do a tenth as well as we did at Disney, I will be happy.”