The merger between Topps and the special purpose acquisition company Mudrick II has been terminated, according to a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission submitted by the SPAC this morning.
The catalyst, according to the filing: “notification on August 19, 2021 from Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association that they would not be renewing their respective agreements with The Topps Company when they come up for renewal at the end of 2025 and 2022, respectively.”
The deal scuttles what had been a crowning moment for the 14-year ownership of Topps by Michael Eisner’s Tornante Company and Chicago private equity firm Madison Dearborn.
Madison Dearborn was cashing out of Topps in the transaction, while Eisner was set to control the public company through voting stock. Eisner, the former Disney chairman, was set to see a $600 million payday in cash and stock. While announcing the deal in April, Eisner had compared Topps to the formative years of Disney under his leadership, a bold comparison that seems less likely without baseball’s involvement.
Mudrick II said in the release it will continue to search for a merger partner. The blank check, led by value investor Jason Mudrick, capitalized Topps at $1.6 billion—before MLB and its players elected to end their decades-long partnership.