Information, News, and other generalities related to sports cards.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The sale of Topps

I don't post here much, and I promised myself I'd keep up to date.. The proposed sale of Topps got me interested, so here I am. Perhaps this will be the impetus to keep regular posts.

For those who have been under a rock: Topps is for sale. Michael Eisner (Disney's Eisner) made an offer to purchase Topps. There were, as I understand it, other interested parties of no importance, then Upper Deck comes along and makes their offer, apparently of greater monetary value to shareholders. The Topps board recommends the Eisner proposal to shareholders.. Now Upper Deck has made another offer that exceeds the Eisner offer by some $40 million. As ALWAYS occurs in these high profile merger/buyouts with competing offers and shareholder rights, everyone is suing everyone and a judge has put on hold the shareholder vote scheduled for the end of this month.

Ignoring the shareholders rights, golden parachutes, and all those fantastic mergers and acquisitions issues that are so fun to learn in law school.. How about collectors?

MLB kicked Donruss to the curb 2 years ago. Fleer went under. We have two manufacturers of MLB licensed cards, and thats Topps and Upper Deck. For my customers Topps is a fan favorite. Upper Deck does alright, but they aren't Topps. Personally I do not like the way UD releases product, there is almost always less value per box, compared to similar Topps products. I would be very dissapointed if Topps was a UD brand. (We are ignoring the possibility that non-brick and mortar dealers like myself would be completely blocked from purchasing new product from reputable distributors. This would be decidedly unpleasant.)

I wonder how the licenses with MLB are structured. Topps and UD are limited to a set number of releases per year, to avoid the oversaturation we all became accustomed to. I assume a purchase of Topps by UD would entitle them to the number of releases Topps would have had, plus their own releases. How long would MLB let that occur? Could they even stop it? There would be no competition in the marketplace.. Thats bad for collectors, dealers, players.. pretty much everyone in the business. I'm curious when the current licensing agreement expires and I wonder if UD is concerned that MLB will restructure the deal. Perhaps letting Donruss back in.. If UD thinks they are boosting their product line to 60 releases but MLB drops them back to 30 they may be unhappy with their $425 million dollar expenditure.

With all that sad, I'm only slightly less dissolutioned by an Eisner owned Topps. How sick are we of the Disney tie-ins on ESPN? That's great that Disney has a new sports movie coming out.. but do we have to push it on the Worldwide Leader? Imagine the rediculous tie-ins we will see with Disney pulling the strings at Topps.

Coming soon to your local shop: Rare 1/1 Mickey Mouse Refractor Autos.


Anonymous cjkerry said...

Given that Eisner got the boot from Disney I don't think you have any thing to worry about on that front.
One thing to consider. Will the government decide that Upper Deck buying Topps would violate the anti-monopoly laws and step in to either block the sale or put such stringent conditions on it that UD decides not to go through with it.

8:55 PM

Anonymous Lacy said...

People should read this.

9:44 AM


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