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Topps’ Blank Check Merger Plan Strikes Out

The baseball card company Topps’ plan to go public through a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) has fallen through.

As Bloomberg News reported on Friday (Aug. 20), the trading card giant had struck a deal in April to become publicly traded by merging with a SPAC called Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp. II.

SPACs, also known as blank-check companies, are entities created for the purpose of taking a company public. Proponents of the practice say it is cheaper and more efficient than taking existing private companies through regulatory hoops.

In the past year or so, it’s become a very popular method of going public. In the first 10 weeks of 2021, SPAC deals had totaled $83.4 billion in value, more than all of the SPACs recorded for the previous year.

Read more: Startup Execs Back Away From SPACs After Stock, Earnings Slide

However, the deal collapsed when Major League Baseball and its players’ union reached new licensing deals with the online sports merchandiser Fanatics, Inc. Topps will now remain private.

“Topps expects to be able to produce substantially all its current licensed baseball products through 2025, pursuant to its existing agreements,” the company said on Friday.

Learn more: Michael Eisner-Led Trading Card Brand Topps Will Go Public Via SPAC

Topps announced the deal in April, saying it would have valued the trading card company at $1.16 billion. At the time, Chairman Michael Eisner said the company decided on a SPAC merger because of the “flexibility and limited distraction to management.”

Although it is best known for its sports trading cards (and Bazooka Joe gum), Topps has been branching out into interactive mobile apps designed to connect collectors. It has also recently broadened its reach to include non-fungible tokens (NFTs), the popular digital art pieces that are recorded on blockchains similar to networks underpinning cryptocurrencies.

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