April 6 (Reuters) - Topps Co Inc, a sports and entertainment collectible firm backed by former Walt Disney Co DIS.N Chief Michael Eisner, said on Tuesday it will go public through a merger with a blank-check firm in a deal valuing the combined company at $1.3 billion.
The deal with Mudrick Capital Acquisition Corp II MUDS.O, or MUDS, will generate gross proceeds of $571 million, including a $250 million private investment led by Mudrick Capital and institutional investors such as GAMCO Investors and Wells Capital Management, among others.
Shares of MUDS, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), were up more than 7% at $10.57 in pre-market trade.
Known for its sports trading cards, 80-year-old Topps is looking to increase its presence in the e-commerce and digital apps industry through blockchain technology or non-fungible token (NFT)-based initiatives.
NFTs are digital assets which can be bought and sold and whose authenticity can be verified with blockchain technology.
Eisner, who bought Topps through his firm The Tornante Company in 2007, will remain Chairman of the combined company. Additionally, Tornante will roll its entire equity investment in Topps into the combined entity.
The company generated record sales of $567 million in 2020, a 23% increase from a year earlier.
SPACs like MUDS 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. MUDS raised $275 million through an IPO last year.
The combined firm will be listed on the Nasdaq under the new ticker symbol "TOPP".
Jefferies and Deutsche Bank Securities were the financial advisors to MUDS and Topps, respectively.
(Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)
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