Topps Co. is famous for making the stuff of sugar-coated childhood memories: baseball and Pokemon cards, Baby Bottle Pops and Bazooka bubble gum.
Now, the company is under siege by a group composed mostly of former baseball-card fans who happened to grow up to run hedge funds.
Their champion, Timothy Brog, has been waging a year-long battle to split up Topps or sell the whole company outright. He figures a deep-pocketed owner would be better able to run the company than members of the founding family while investing more on promoting the brand. Later this month he hopes to oust three board members at the annual meeting.
"It's time for a change," says Mr. Brog, who heads a two-year-old hedge fund called Pembridge Capital Management LLC. "Management has been running Topps like it's a candy store from the 1950s."
Topps's CEO, Arthur Shorin, an energetic septuagenarian and second-generation candy maker, sees things differently. He says Mr. Brog and his supporters don't know the first thing about running a complex candy-and-cards empire. "Shareholders need to be protected from them," he says.
To quote the famous philosopher Calvin, another nostalgic piece of childhood goes THBPPTH.