Topps, Maker of Baseball Cards and Candy, Accepts $385.4 Million Buyout From Michael Eisner's Private Equity Group

Topps Co. Inc., known for sports cards and Bazooka bubble gum, said Tuesday it accepted a $385.4 million takeover offer from a buyout group that includes Michael Eisner, the former chief executive of The Walt Disney Co. (DIS).

The buyout group, which includes The Tornante Co. LLC, founded by Eisner, and the Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC, has agreed to pay $9.75 for each Topps shares, which represents a premium of 9.4 percent over the stock's Monday closing pricing of $8.91 on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange.

The deal has been approved by the Topps board.

Topps said in a statement that the deal still faces regulatory approval and a vote by Topps shareholders, but is expected to close in the third quarter.

The company also said it "intends to solicit superior proposals from third parties during the next 40 days."

Eisner stepped down in 2005 after more than two decades years as chief executive of Disney, the entertainment and media company that owns theme parks, movie studios and the ABC, Disney and ESPN television networks.

Topps was founded in 1938 and makes Major League Baseball, NFL, NBA and other trading cards. In addition to Bazooka bubble gum, it owns the candy brands Ring Pop and Push Pop.

"This will be a change in ownership, not a change in direction," Topps Chairman and CEO Arthur T. Shorin said in a statement.