NFTs are accelerating Topps’ digital transition, says chair

Michael Eisner said the trading card manufacturer is "25% digital" and growing due in part to blockchain technology.

Topps, one of the world's premier trading card manufacturers, recently announced its intention to pursue a public offering following an explosion in the digital market.

In an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box today, Topps chair Michael Eisner said the sports and entertainment side of the business — the company also produces confections like gum — is 25% digital and growing. Eisner said the explosion of nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, on the blockchain will “likely appeal to everybody” as the firm goes public.

“The digital [side of the business] is growing really fast,” said Eisner:

“With blockchain we’re going to be able to participate in the secondary market. Before we only participated when we put the analog cards out.”

Topps plans to go public through the merger of a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. In this case, Mudrick Capital, already listed on Nasdaq, would acquire Topps. This ould effectively bypass the traditional initial public offering route. The SPAC reportedly values Topps at $1.3 billion, with the deal expected to be finalized this year.

Eisner, the former CEO of The Walt Disney Company, purchased Topps through his investment firm and Madison Dearborn Partners in October 2007. The Topps chair said he bought the company “with the goal of making it digital.“

“This is the icing on the cake: going digital completely, with the analog still in place.”

As cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology became more well known, the company’s digital arm has jumped into the NFT space with the creation of trendy digital collectibles. In January, Topps Digital released NFTs featuring Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and his winter mittens at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.

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