Lake Oswego sports card company PWCC Marketplace sold its business Monday to Fanatics Collectables, a rapidly growing sports memorabilia company based in New York.
“We acquired PWCC as a strategic, long-term decision for the business that will allow us to further enhance and support the broader collector ecosystem,” Fanatics Vice President AC Betts wrote in an email Tuesday. Betts wrote that buying PWCC “will give us the opportunity to further build and strengthen on the foundation that exists today and ultimately deliver a lot of value to our fans/collectors.”
The companies didn’t report terms of their deal.
PWCC’s 125 employees will remain with the business, according to Betts, who said “it’s business as usual” for the time being.
“It is critical that we take the time to properly evaluate the business, best practices and compliance,” Betts wrote. “Long-term health is vital for our business and the ecosystem at large, which is why we’re going to thoughtfully integrate the PWCC platform into Fanatics Collectibles.”
Founded in 1998, PWCC is among the most popular place for collectors to buy and sell trading cards. It also operates a vault in Oregon where clients store their collections.
PWCC promotes sports cards as akin to fine art – assets with an enthusiastic following and an opportunity to produce strong investment returns.
But its business has been plagued by allegations that cards sold on its site had been manipulated to increase their value, and it was kicked off eBay in 2001 amid accusations that people associated with PWCC engaged in “shill bidding” to drive up the price of cards.
Earlier this month, PWCC laid off 30 employees, about a fifth of its staff. Most of the layoffs were in Oregon.
Fanatics has licensing deals with all the major North American sports leagues. It bought the Topps trading card line last year in a deal reportedly worth $500 million and owns the Lids sports apparel brand. Fanatics is also pursuing sports betting, with a deal last week to buy the U.S. operations of the PointsBet online sportsbook for $150 million.
“PWCC has built a strong business with great tech, a leading marketplace and vault,” Betts wrote. “Bringing them into Fanatics Collectibles will give us the opportunity to further build and strengthen on the foundation that exists today and ultimately deliver a lot of value to our fans/collectors.”
This article has updated with additional comment from Fanatics.
— Mike Rogoway | [email protected] | 503-294-7699
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