Topps, the trading card, collectibles, and confectionary giant, has acquired WizKids, the innovative game company that created the increasingly important collectible miniatures game category. The acquisition will provide Topps with a significant presence in the growing category of collectible games. WizKids' current games include Mage Knight, HeroClix, MechWarrior, and the recently released Shadowrun Duels. WizKids' growing presence in pop culture shops is reflected in the June 18 Diamond Dateline in which WizKids products occupied every slot in the Top 10 Games reorder list except for the #9 position. The Topps Company has long been the anchor of the contemporary sports cards category. It's the only company that has been issuing baseball cards continuously for over fifty years.
Topps plans to operate WizKids as a separate division. Jordan Weisman, WizKids' co-founder and CEO, will be responsible for the day-to-day management of WizKids and its 95 employees. Weisman, who was recently named Puget Sound Entrepreneur of the Year, will report directly to Scott Silverstein, Executive VP and head of Topps Entertainment Division. WizKids will continue to be headquartered in Bellevue, Washington. For WizKids, in addition to gaining some licensing leverage from Topps, the acquisition could provide help in distribution, which might be particularly useful with the Creepy Freaks game the company is launching in September, which has definite mass market potential. Topps' expertise in international distribution should also help WizKids. Although WizKids has done quite well on its own, there is still considerable room for growth in international sales.
Topps Chairman and CEO, Arthur T. Shorin was obviously pleased with the acquisition, which he noted 'represents an important step in our strategy for growing the entertainment segment of the business as it provides efficient entry to the growing collectible games market.' 'Joining forces with WizKids will enhance the licensing reach of both companies and will further leverage Topps brand franchises,' he said. 'We look forward to welcoming the management and employees of WizKids to the Topps family.'
For Topps the acquisition of WizKids is quite a coup since it provides Topps with a powerful presence in the entertainment side of the business, which can offset the volatile ups and downs of the sports card market. Of course Topps' confectionary business serves a similar function, but until the acquisition of WizKids Topps had no answer for sports card rival Upper Deck's powerful entertainment lineup, which is anchored by the extremely popular Yu-Gi-Oh! collectible card game.