The Topps Company, Inc. Announces Agreement With eBay.
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 28, 2000
Topps Will Launch First Two Online Initiatives:
etopps(TM) and Topps Vault(TM)
The Topps Company, Inc. (Nasdaq: TOPP) announced today that it has signed a three-year agreement with eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY), the leading online person to person trading community. The two Topps ventures to be offered through this alliance are etopps(TM), a unique line of sports cards to be bought and traded only on the Internet, and the Topps Vault(TM), from which Topps plans to auction its one-of-a-kind sports memorabilia.
Topps expects a soft launch of etopps(TM) by December 2000 and a full launch of both etopps(TM) and Topps Vault(TM) in March 2001. The Company estimates that in its fiscal year ending March 3, 2001, the Internet business will incur total expenses of approximately $6 million, roughly half of which will be expensed and half of which will be capitalized. Management believes that its Internet business can be accretive to earnings in fiscal 2002, its first full year of operation.
etopps(TM), a new brand of cards, will be sold individually, by specific player, through (IPOS(TM)) Initial Player Offerings(TM) exclusively on Topps.com. Buyers of these cards have the unique option of having their cards physically remain in Topps possession and reflected in their personal portfolios. This will allow for the subsequent buying and selling of these cards on a dedicated secondary market, the etopps(TM) trading floor on eBay, with Topps simply transferring the record of ownership from seller to buyer. Alternatively, buyers can have their cards delivered in uncirculated mint condition. The soft launch of etopps(TM), expected by December, will feature NFL players. The full-scale program is expected to launch in March, in anticipation of the 2001 Major League Baseball season.
The Topps Vault(TM) concept involves another alliance between Topps and eBay. Topps plans to sell on eBay thousands of original sports memorabilia items annually from the Topps Vault(TM) including signed player contracts, canceled checks with players' personal endorsements, photographs from its vast library including many used to make actual cards, and other items. Topps has collected these items throughout its 50 year history and continues doing so to this day. The schedule of events and catalogue of available items will be posted regularly on the Topps.com website.
Arthur T. Shorin, Topps Chairman and CEO, commented, "This is a proud day for Topps as we announce the first two elements of our Internet strategy designed to expand Topps sports card business beyond the current community of collectors. Rather than taking our current products and simply moving them online, we will provide unique products in a highly interactive format, designed to appeal to both current collectors and the broader universe of sports fans. We are thrilled to welcome eBay, with its huge customer base and marketing power in the world of e-commerce, as a part of our program."
Brian Swette, Chief Operating Officer of eBay, stated, "Topps is highly respected in the sports collectibles industry. We are delighted to be part of their Internet program, and to be working with a company that has a wonderful history of bringing innovative products to consumers all over the world."
About The Topps Company, Inc.
The Topps Company, Inc. is an international marketer of entertainment products, principally collectible trading cards, confections and sticker album collections. Founded in 1938, Topps created Bazooka bubble gum in 1947 and marketed its first baseball cards in 1951.
eBay (www.ebay.com), the world's personal trading community, pioneered person-to-person online trading. Founded in 1995, eBay has developed an efficient and entertaining trading site on the Web that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. eBay has more than 12 million registered users. Currently, there are more than 4 million items listed for sale. More than 600,000 items are added daily in more than 4,300 categories, including: antiques; automotive; books, movies and music; coins and stamps; collectibles; computers; dolls and figures; jewelry and gemstones; photos and electronics; pottery and glass; sports memorabilia; and toys.
This release may contain forward-looking statements pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, which are described in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These risks also include: the risks that sales over the Internet may not develop as expected, that Topps will incur higher than anticipated expenses in developing its website, that more than half of the expenses Topps incurs will be expensed rather than capitalized, that Topps Internet business will not be accretive to earnings when expected, or at all, and that the expected soft launch and full launch dates will be delayed for various reasons including technical issues associated with establishing the website.
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|Date:||Jun 28, 2000|
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