The Upper Deck Co. withdrew its offer to buy rival baseball card maker Topps Co. Tuesday afternoon, apparently clearing the way for Michael Eisner's investment firm to try to take it over.
Topps said in a letter, sent to Upper Deck Chief Executive Richard McWilliam on Tuesday, that despite continuous efforts the two sides had not been able to reach an agreement and that Topps had no faith in reaching one.
Eisner's Tornante Co. and Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC agreed to pay $9.75 a share ($416 million) for the baseball card and bubble gum maker back in March, which represented a 9.4 percent premium.
That offer was immediately opposed by some investors as well as two Topps board members. Upper Deck then made a bid of $10.75 per share, but Topps hesitated, expressing concern about Upper Deck's ability to acquire financing.
Then, advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services recommended Tuesday that Topps shareholders vote against Eisner's bid, saying that the Upper Deck offer was better and would put Topps in better hands.
The situation should come to an end next week, when Topps board is to vote on the Eisner deal.
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