Sports card firm Topps shelves $1.3 bln SPAC deal

A variety of Topps Co. trading cards are displayed in Denver
A variety of Topps Co. trading cards are displayed in Denver, Colorado March 6, 2007. Topps Co. maker of baseball trading cards and Bazooka gum, said on Tuesday it would be acquired by an investment firm run by former Walt Disney Co. chief Michael Eisner and private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners for $385 million. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES)

Aug 20 (Reuters) - Topps on Friday said its deal to go public through a merger with a blank-check firm had been shelved as Major League Baseball decided against renewing its 70-year old trading card partnership with the firm.

MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) on Thursday indicated they will not renew their separate agreements with Topps when they come up for renewal at the end of 2025 and 2022 respectively.

MLB instead struck an exclusive deal with a new company controlled by retailer Fanatics Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Topps, a sports and entertainment collectible firm backed by former Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) boss Michael Eisner, had in April agreed go public through a merger with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp II (MUDS.O), a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), in a deal valuing the combined company at $1.3 billion.

The deal had been terminated by a mutual agreement, the companies said.

Founded in 1938 and known for its sports trading cards, Topps has recently been looking to increase its presence in the e-commerce and digital apps industry through blockchain technology or non-fungible token (NFT)-based initiatives.

Topps' sports and entertainment products include trading cards of Major League Soccer, UEFA Champions League, Bundesliga, National Hockey League, Formula 1, Star Wars and WWE.

SPACs are shell companies which raise funds through an initial public offering (IPO) in order to take a private company public through a merger at a later date.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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