A private equity shareholder warned that it may launch a battle to replace the board of toymaker Jakks Pacific Inc., which on Wednesday reported a wider first-quarter loss that wasn’t as bad as analysts were expecting.
In a regulatory filing, Oaktree Capital Management Funds released a letter sent to Jakks’ board on Tuesday, saying it will make a “firm offer” for the company and warning that it may seek to replace directors.
The affiliate of downtown L.A. private equity firm Oaktree Capital Group LLC owns a 5 percent stake in the Malibu company and last fall made an unsolicited bid of $20 per share that was rejected by the board. The board later approved a “poison pill” shareholders rights plan in an effort to thwart any takeover attempt.
"Oaktree has no confidence in the capability and credibility of the current board and management team,” said Oaktree in its letter. “Immediate change is required to preserve and protect the interest of public shareholders.”
Oaktree said it would fund its expected bid with a combination of equity and debt, It has hired Guggenheim Securities LLC as financial adviser, MacKenzie Partners Inc. as a proxy solicitor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP as legal counsel.
Separately, Jakks on Wednesday morning reported a net loss of $16 million (-62 cents a share), compared with a loss of $10.6 million (-39 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 1.5 percent to $73.4 million.
The company’s adjusted net loss, which excludes one-time items, was 59 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected an adjusted loss of 61 cents on revenue of $68.8 million.
The company declared a quarterly dividend of 10 cents a share, to be paid on July 2.
Sales of Jakks' new Monsuno toy line, tied to an original animated TV show that the company created, were better than the company expected. The show premiered on the Nicktoons cable network in February. Looking ahead, the company said it will launch action figures tied to the upcoming movies "The Amazing Spiderman," "The Avengers" and "The Dark Knight Rises."
“Critical response to ‘Monsuno’ has been extremely positive so far, and we anticipate continued strong sales,” said Chief Executive Stephen Berman in a statement, noting that plans calls for the toy line to be available in more than 30 countries by this fall.
Shares were up 10 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $18.05 in midday trading on the Nasdaq.
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