The catfight that was Upper Deck’s bid for Topps may be over but Wall Street isn’t happy and one group of shareholders is still fighting the merger with Michael Eisner’s group.
The Dodgers could never buy the Giants, the Bears could never own the Packers, Cal isn’t merging with Stanford and Topps won’t be sold to Upper Deck. It may not be surprising the ‘negotiations’ turned nasty and Upper Deck pulled its bid Tuesday. Yet the news doesn’t necessarily mean it will be smooth sailing for the New York-based maker of 1952 high numbers.
Topps blasted Upper Deck’s offer Wednesday, claiming Upper Deck’s decision to walk away "confirms our suspicion that the tender offer was, in fact, a sham. Upper Deck’s excuses on due diligence illustrate their dishonesty throughout this process."
Topps’s stock price had been going up since news of a possible higher bid from Upper Deck. Shares climbed 2.3 percent during the three months the California company was interested but Topps’ stock dropped 71 cents per share Wednesday, to $9.30, on Nasdaq in the wake of Upper Deck’s pullout.
The Committee to Enhance Topps, led by investment firm Crescendo Partners which owns a large block of Topps’ stock, sent a letter to other shareholders Wednesday indicating their belief that Topps’ management had not negotiated in good faith with Upper Deck.
"We believe the Executive Committee never had any intention of completing a deal with Upper Deck, even if it meant the most value for the company’s stockholders," the letter read.
The dissident group has been outspoken in their attempts to block the sale to the Tornante Company/Madison Dearborn Partners private equity group and again urged shareholders to reject the deal when a vote is taken next Thursday. They believe Topps’ stock could be worth between $16 to $18 a share in two years and promised to nominate a new slate of board members if a negative vote is registered, essentially forcing out Topps’ current management.