Shares of baseball card manufacturer and confectioner Topps Co. rose 4.9% to close at $10.26 Thursday after the company said it had received an unsolicited indication of interest from sports and entertainment publishing company Upper Deck Co., which wants to buy it for $10.75 a share. The offer, which amounts to approximately $416 million, is higher than an earlier bid for Topps submitted by Tornante Co., an investor group led by former Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner. Tornante and private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners offered $9.75 a share, or about $385 million. The bid was opposed by three of the 10 members of Topps's board and activist hedge fund Crescendo Partners II, which says the offer undervalues the company. Topps says Upper Deck's offer has several complicating factors, including unclear financing and Upper Deck's demand that its liability be limited in the event that antitrust regulators block the acquisition. In addition, a deal with Upper Deck would require the approval of Major League Baseball. Tornante has granted Topps permission to talk with Upper Deck. Topps shareholders are scheduled to vote on the Tornante proposal on June 28.
Sources: Press release, Forbes (I, II), Reuters, Business Week, TheStreet.com, Wall Street Journal
Commentary: Topps Going Private for $385 Million • Topps Shareholders Should Reject Eisner's Offer • Topps: This Buyout Is Robbery
Stocks/ETFs to watch: The Topps Company, Inc. (TOPP). Competitors: William Wrigley Jr. Co. (WWY)
Seeking Alpha's news briefs are combined into a pre-market summary called Wall Street Breakfast. Get Wall Street Breakfast by email -- it's free and takes only seconds to sign up.