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February 18, 2015

Ryan Tedards

Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - @SportsCardNews

 
   
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Panini America has interest in acquiring the Upper Deck Company according to people involved with both companies. Negotiations between the two sides have been on and off since 2013. It's believed talks have heated back up recently.

Panini America entered the U.S. market shortly after its parent company, Panini S.p.A, was issued a term loan for $84,944,600 on April 7, 2008. 11 months later Panini announced it purchased Donruss Playoff on March 13, 2009. Industry experts speculate the purchase price was between $12-$16 Million. Since 2009, Panini has acquired licenses to publish collectibles for NBA, NFL, NHL, MLBPA, CLC, and properties from many other licensors in the United States.

Rapid growth in the United States has led some Panini America employees to complain about a demanding work environment. Several have expressed belief the process to create trading cards has been compromised because of tight timetables. It's unclear if an acquisition of Upper Deck would smooth out workflow.

American sports cards remain a small part of Panini's overall business. Panini Group did $1 Billion in sales worldwide in 2010, led largely by the popularity of FIFA World Cup collectible stickers. Group licensing director Peter Warsop said in a 2013 Sports Business Daily article that “Seventy percent of our collectibles business is in [soccer] sticker packets and albums.”

The Upper Deck Company revolutionized the trading card industry in 1989, but has fallen on hard times in recent years.

Founder Richard McWilliam in 1993 estimated Upper Deck was worth $250 Million. Owners of the company by then had already received over $150 Million in dividend payments, a staggering figure. The quick rise of Upper Deck led McWilliam to amass a fortune, including spending $21 million on a 9,455-square-foot apartment in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York. McWililam was able to personally bankroll the company during its leaner years.

By 2010, the prospects at Upper Deck had changed. The company laid off 119 employees after losing its MLB Properties, NBA and NFL trading card license. Costly legal battles ensued with both MLB and the NFL. Current Upper Deck President Jason Masherah said in court documents: "If we cannot use the uniforms, we cannot compete and most assuredly there will be only one baseball trading card company — Topps — when the dust settles. A series consisting solely of players not in uniforms would be, at best, a sporadic novelty low-revenue item."

Richard McWilliam died on January 5, 2013. McWiliam's wife, Vivianne B. McWilliam, has been named the administrator of his estate.

Upper Deck Website - Panini America Website

 
   

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Where: Ephrata, Pennsylvania

The Ephrata Lions Club is sponsoring it's 36th annual Sports Card Show & Auction on Saturday, March 28, 2015, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Ephrata Recreation Center.

Location: The Rec Center is located at 130 South Academy Drive, Ephrata, PA, near the intersection of US 322 and PA 272. Approximately forty sports memorabilia dealers will be present to buy, sell, and trade baseball cards and other sports- related items. (All available dealer tables have been sold.)

Steve Carlton Autograph Signing: Between 11:00 and 1:00, Hall of Fame pitcher Steve Carlton will sign autographs for attendees purchasing tickets. Steve Carlton's appearance is sponsored by Keystone State Baseball & Softball Academy, the Ephrata National Bank, and Summers Trucking.

Autograph tickets are $40.00 each for one autograph on a "flat" (e.g., a card, photo, or magazine) or a baseball, or $50.00 all other items (e.g., equipment or apparel). Autographs may include only one (1) inscription. Only three hundred (300) autograph tickets will be sold, and are only available on the day of the show. Additional autographs beyond the initial 300 will be sold if time permits, but ticket sales will stop at 12:30. No mail orders will be accepted, and there are no advanced ticket sales. Attendees may bring their own items to be autographed, or items may be purchased from dealers or from the Ephrata Lions Club.

Show Admission Cost: Admission to the show is $5.00 for adults, $1.00 for children under 12.

Auction: A sports memorabilia auction will begin at approximately 2:30. Over 250 items will be auctioned, including valuable individual sports cards, complete card sets, sports publications, photographs, figurines, baseballs, and other souvenirs. Some of the memorabilia to be auctioned have been autographed by current and former stars from all sports. Payment terms are cash and local checks (with proper ID). Credit cards are not accepted. In addition to this auction, a smaller silent auction runs from the start of the card show until 2:00.

Proceeds from the show and auction benefit the Ephrata area youth sports programs and the Ephrata Recreation Center. Additional details, including the auction list (available late January 2015), can be found on the Ephrata Lions Club website.

For additional information, please contact Jack Forney (717-733-4001) or Brad Lauderman (717-733-6810), or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

 
   
Sports Card Show Flyer  

Steve Carlton Flyer

 
   
   
   

Panini America landed an exclusive agreement with the Collegiate Licensing Company (CLC). It covers more than 200 Universities. Upper Deck held the license from 2010-March 2015.

Here is Panini's statement

Here is Upper Deck's statement