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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Something is fishy with "hedge fund activists" trying to take over Topps Baseball Cards

A bitter proxy contest between the Topps Company, the maker of baseball cards, and two activist hedge funds neared a peaceful resolution yesterday as both sides agreed to a last-minute compromise on candidates for the board.

The agreement came after two hours of negotiations that had delayed the company’s annual shareholder meeting and a vote on two rival slates for three seats on the board.

Under the settlement between Topps and the two hedge funds, Pembridge Capital Management and Crescendo Partners, the company’s board will grow to 10 from 9. Topps’s longtime chairman and chief executive, Arthur T. Shorin, will remain a director candidate. But two other management candidates will drop out, clearing the way for the dissidents’ three nominees. A vote on the board candidates will be held Aug. 25.

The settlement means the end of a yearlong battle waged by Timothy E. Brog, the manager of the $25 million Pembridge fund, to force change at the 86-year-old company, which also makes Bazooka chewing gum. (NY Times)

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