eBay acquires trading card marketplace for $295 million

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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eBay has entered into an agreement to acquire TCGplayer.

eBay continues establishing itself as a major player in the collectibles space.

The e-tail giant has entered into an agreement to purchase TCGplayer, an online marketplace for collectible card game products, for a total deal value of up to approximately $295 million. TCGplayer will continue to operate autonomously as an online commerce platform for trading card games.

This acquisition complements eBay's ongoing strategic focus on the collectibles niche and provides the retailer with strategic omnichannel capabilities like order fulfillment and cart optimization. TCGplayer develops applications, inventory management tools, and hardware such as robotic sorting machines.

As a marketplace, TCGplayer connects thousands of hobby stores and online sellers with customers and collectors around the globe. The company employs more than 600 workers.

"eBay continues to build on our 26 years of experience in trading cards, powering local hobby stores and Main Street retailers to deliver an online destination that collectors love," said Dawn Block, VP of collectibles at eBay. "eBay has always fueled our customers' passion in this space and facilitated connections between buyers and sellers, and with TCGplayer, we can enhance the customer experience across categories, forge even more relationships, and cater to enthusiasts around the world."

"This new chapter allows us to continue operating independently within eBay, while also benefiting from their decades of industry experience and resources to deepen the connection between hobbyists and their communities," said Chedy Hampson, Founder and CEO of TCGplayer. "With eBay's support, we will advance our purpose, and expand our tools and services to improve the collecting experience online and in your favorite local hobby store."

eBay zeroes in on collectibles
Collectibles, digital and otherwise, represent an increasingly important product category for eBay. The company recently launched a series of exclusive Funko products as part of a newly formed collaboration with the pop culture brand. eBay also released a new authenticity guarantee service for trading cards in January 2022, which it has since built upon through a new strategic partnership with PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), a trading card authentication and grading company.

In addition, eBay recently opened the eBay vault, a 31,000-sq.-ft., 24/7 secured, temperature-controlled facility and digital marketplace for collectors. Single, graded trading cards worth $750 or more may be eligible for eBay vault access. Once an item is in the eBay vault, ownership transfers from seller to buyer in a matter of seconds, without need to re-authenticate or ship the item anywhere.

Utilizing the Price Guide and Collections tool natively built-in to the vault, users can monitor the real-time market valuation changes of their cards and list items directly from their collection. eBay's data catalog provides a holistic view of a collection's past and present value.

By 2023, eBay will expand the capacity of the vault to include additional collectibles categories and luxury goods. Within a few years, the retailer expects the vault to hold up to $3 billion in assets.

In the realm of digital collectibles, eBay purchased NFT marketplace KnownOrigin in June 2022. KnownOrigin's technology and platform is designed to provide artists a place to create unique, authentic, digital collectibles in the form of NFTs. Other recent NFT ventures launched by eBay include a May 2022 partnership with NHL legend Wayne Gretzky. 

The eBay-TCGplayer deal is subject to customary closing conditions, including requisite regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023. Evercore is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Cooley LLP is acting as legal counsel to TCGplayer in the transaction. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is acting as legal counsel to eBay.

Founded in 1995 in San Jose, Calif., eBay reports it enabled over $87 billion of gross merchandise volume in 2021.