Democrats and business are increasingly allies

BlackRock will conduct a racial equity audit. The money management giant agreed to examine how its policies and practices contribute to racial injustices, Bloomberg reports. Other Wall Street companies, including Bank of America, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, have asked shareholders to reject investor proposals for similar audits.

Topps, known for its collectible cards and Bazooka gum, goes public by merging with a SPAC in a deal that values ​​the company at $ 1.3 billion. The transaction includes a $ 250 million investment led by sponsor SPAC Mudrick Capital, as well as investors such as GAMCO and Wells Capital. Michael Eisner, the former CEO of Disney who is the chairman of Topps, will invest his entire stake in the new company and remain there.

“Everyone has a story on Topps,” Mr. Eisner said. This was what initially drew him to the collectible card company, which he acquired in 2007 through his investment firm, Tornante, and Madison Dearborn. for $ 385 million. Buying Topps was a gamble on a brand with as strong an “emotional connection” as Disney, the company Mr. Eisner ran for 21 years. (And he knows the value of sport: at Disney, he helped acquire ESPN through ABC.)

Topps focused on a digital transition, the launch of online applications allowing users to exchange collectibles and play games. He also created “Topps Now,” which makes cards of the moment to capture a pop culture play or meme. (It’s old nearly 100,000 cards featuring Bernie Sanders at the presidential inauguration in his mittens.) And, yes, he entered the blockchain, too, via the craze for non-fungible tokens, or NFT.

The pandemic has increased interest in memories, with a Mickey Mantle card recently sold for $ 5.2 million. “Topps probably did something like a nickel on it 70 years ago,” said Jason Mudrick, founder of Mudrick Capital. NFT mania will allow Topps to take advantage of the second hand market by linking collectibles to digital tokens. Executives involved in the merger stressed that a nudge from the NFT was not part of their projections, nor was it a driver of the deal. Topps is focused on digital investments and growth beyond sports, such as its partnerships with Marvel and “Star Wars”. The company generated record sales of $ 567 million in 2020, a 23% jump from the previous year.

  • Topps CEO Michael Brandstaedter said he expected baseball memories to continue to be uplifted by trends such as minor league players faster, even after the downturn was over. the pandemic.

Can he keep the momentum going? Among industries attracting investors to PSPC, Mudrick said collectibles – both digital and physical – were the safest bet. “Our core business is investing in value,” he said, and “we just couldn’t understand” EVs, drones and other industries that are hot for PSPCs.

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