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Topps shareholders approve buyout led by Michael Eisner

September 20, 2007|From the Associated Press

Shareholders of Topps Co. approved a $385.4-million private equity takeover of the maker of sports cards and candy, the company said Wednesday, defeating activist investors who had said the price was too low.

Chief Executive Arthur Shorin told shareholders the deal had enough preliminary votes to pass at the end of a special meeting. The meeting had been postponed three times as the company sought the votes it needed.

Michael Eisner's Tornante Co. investment firm and Madison Dearborn Partners agreed in March to take New York-based Topps private for $9.75 a share. Since then they have had to fight two of the company's board members and a Topps competitor to gain the confidence of shareholders. Eisner is a former chief executive of Walt Disney Co.

"I look forward to working with my new associates at Topps to find new and exciting ways to grow the company," Eisner said in a statement. "Topps is a wonderful company with a portfolio of strong brands."

A majority of the company's 38.76 million outstanding shares had to be voted in favor of the deal for it to go through.

Shorin did not give an exact vote count, but a spokesman said that would be released within 10 days.

The deal, expected to close in October, had been in limbo since it was first announced.

Topps shares rose 36 cents Wednesday to $9.61.

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