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first_imgNEW YORK – The Topps Co., maker of baseball cards and Bazooka bubble gum, said Tuesday that it accepted a $385.4 million takeover offer from a buyout group that includes former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, but the deal drew immediate opposition from one of Topps’ own board members. Topps board member Arnaud Ajdler, along with the investment firm Crescendo Partners II, launched a campaign to kill the deal. Crescendo owns about 6.6 percent of the company’s shares, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Ajdler is also a managing partner of Crescendo. Ajdler said Tuesday that he had not yet been in touch with other major shareholders but thought the deal should be abandoned because negotiations did not go through a proper process and the Eisner-led offer undervalues the company. “I believe that the process that led to the signing of the merger agreement was flawed in that the board of directors did not shop the company and thus failed to maximize the competitive dynamics of a sale transaction that would have garnered the highest price available,” Ajdler wrote in a letter sent to other board members Tuesday. As part of the merger agreement, CEO Arthur T. Shorin agreed to retire within 60 days of the close of the deal. He would remain as a consultant, according to an SEC filing. Shorin, 70, has been CEO of Topps and its predecessor since 1980, according to the company Web site. Eisner was CEO of The Walt Disney Co. for two decades until he stepped down in 2005. Disney owns theme parks, movie studios and the ABC, ESPN and Disney TV networks. Topps, founded in 1938, makes trading cards featuring athletes of Major League Baseball, the NFL and NBA. In addition to Bazooka bubble gum, it owns the Ring Pop and Push Pop brands.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The deal was approved in a 7-3 vote by the board with Ajdler and two others voting against it. Ajdler was joined by board members John Jones and Timothy Brog, president of Pembridge Capital Management LLP. Pembridge had earlier pressed the company to solicit acquisition proposals. 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 price of $8.91 on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. In a sign that some investors think the bidding could go higher, Topps shares rose 90 cents, or 10 percent, to close at $9.81 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Its shares have traded between $7.50 and $10 over the past 52 weeks. The company said in its announcement that it will solicit better offers over the next 40 days. The deal requires regulatory approval and a vote by Topps shareholders, but the company said it could close by the third quarter. last_img read more

first_imgDave Marshall, the popular parking czar for big events in downtown Long Beach and former SF Giants player, loved life — but he loved his wife, Carol, even more.“Dave just adored Carol,” Tom Marcoux, Marshall’s boss at the Long Beach Convention Center, said Thursday, June 13. “She meant everything to him. He would brag about how upbeat and positive she was despite her illness.”Carol, you see, suffered from multiple sclerosis for many years. But Dave was always by her side.Recently, however, …last_img read more

first_imgThe Shangana Cultural Village has secured second spot in the 2005 Conde Nast Traveler magazine’s Green List, which recognises the best in ecotourism around the world.Shangana is a cluster of traditional villages midway between the Blyde River Canyon and the southern Kruger National Park, where residents invite guests to share in the way of life of the Shangaan people. (Image: Shangana)Brand South Africa ReporterThe Shangana Cultural Village in the South African province of Mpumalanga has secured second spot in the 2005 Conde Nast Traveler magazine’s Green List, which recognises the best in ecotourism around the world.Announcing the win in the magazine’s September 2005 issue, Conde Nast gave Shangana a score of 79%. This put it in second place after Bunaken National Marine Park in Indonesia, which scored 83%, and ahead of the 68% scored by the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Mexico.The winners were selected for their preservation of the environment, contribution to local culture and the quality of the guest experience.“Tours and feasts with the chief at this model village introduce visitors to the Shangaan way of life, complementing the natural attractions of the nearby Kruger National Park and Panorama Route,” Conde Nast reported. The village scored 68% for nature preservation, 82% for guest experience and 88% for local contribution.Owned by the Mapulana community, the venture has created over 200 jobs in an area which once had an unemployment rate of 80%.Shangana is a cluster of traditional villages midway between the Blyde River Canyon and the southern Kruger National Park, where residents invite guests to share in the way of life of the Shangaan people. The villages are set in the shade of ancient trees in a reserve of forest and grassland, and are open every day.An African market village forms the centre of Shangana, where local craftspeople make and trade their craft. From here, trained guides lead guests down to villages on daytime tours, midday tours with lunch, and a magnificent evening festival at the chief’s kraal.Marula MarketThe Marula Market has been described by many visitors as the most beautiful in Africa. A wide circle of huts looks down towards the Kruger Park, with trees all around. It is the central village at Shangana.The market is a gathering place for the region’s craftspeople, offering a variety of traditional handcrafted art. Many of the artists work at home in nearby villages and leave their work at the market to be sold, making Marula an important source of income for the people of the area.In the centre of the market are clay and stone pieces, including carvings, statues and pots, and an oven used for firing clay work. The surrounding huts house the work of different crafters.Daytime toursDuring the day, small groups are led from the Marula Market through the bush and past fields, where a trained guide shows how the Shangaan people collect food from their environment, and explains a little about traditional farming. The route leads up to a village, the home of a Shangaan headman, his wives and children.In the village, the guide explains different facets of the Shangaan way of life, including their history and customs, initiation ceremonies, the practice of polygamy, the outfits and weapons of masocho (warriors), the construction of homes, ornate beadwork clothing, and food preparation. Guests are encouraged to touch, feel and participate, while the guide explains the etiquette necessary to ensure the privacy of the family.Guests then visit the kraal of the sangoma, a registered member of the Traditional Healers Association, who explains different medicines – and may throw his bones on request.Over lunchtime, a full traditional meal is served in the village with the family. The wives of the chief wash the hands of the guests, and pots of food are brought from the fire and served. Guests are given portions of each item they choose on a carved wooden plate, and eat with an elegantly crafted wooden spoon.Evening festivalAs the sun sets over the mountains, guests are led through the bush towards the kraal of Chief Soshangana. As they approach, beating drums and warriors usher them through a passage of stone towers and flaming torches to the fire-lit circle of royal huts under the trees.During the evening festival choirs, actors and dancers tell the story of the Shangaan people. During the show, traditional beer and great wooden trays with local delicacies are passed around.Halfway through the show, the wives of the chief invite guests to divide into small groups to share a traditional feast in their houses with them.After this, guests return for the second half, which tells the more modern story of the Shangaans, and at the end guests are led out through a tunnel of singing choristers.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

first_img South Africa has been identified as a key emerging market for global investors, moving up to fourth position in a new survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit for UK Trade & Investment, the British government’s international business development agency. Addressing an emerging markets forum hosted by the Economist Intelligence Unit on Wednesday, UK Secretary of State Lord Mandelson revealed the findings of the report, which examined global business attitudes to emerging markets in light of the global downturn.UK business ‘must look abroad’ Commissioned by UK Trade & Investment, the “Survive and Prosper: emerging markets in the global recession” report gives fresh insights into the opportunities and longer-term strategic importance offered by emerging economies. “Businesses should be strategic about their exports and plan for the long term,” Mandelson said. “Many emerging markets are outperforming developed economies, and are expected to grow strongly for years to come. “The global recession was a wake-up call for companies to diversify their export base and seek out new opportunities in the emerging world,” Mandelson said. “We are encouraging UK business to look abroad and find new business in these exciting new markets.”Emerging markets outperform developed countries The report, based on a survey of more than 540 high-level business executives across 19 business sectors, found that emerging market economies, on the back of the continued high growth and market size of China and India, had outperformed those of developed countries in 2009. The report found 60 percent of companies surveyed expected to derive more than 20 percent of their total revenues from emerging markets in five years’ time – almost double the current figure of 31%. According to the report, political risk (including the risk of nationalisation and expropriation) was cited by 50 percent of survey respondents as the greatest government-related obstacle to doing business in emerging markets.‘Share in SA construction boom’ In the equivalent report by the Economist Intelligence Unit in 2008, titled “Tomorrow’s Markets”, South Africa was ranked eighth in a top 10 list of “new wave” investment markets. The latest report – in which South Africa moves up to fourth position – is part of a wider push by UK Trade & Investment to raise awareness about the potential trade and investment opportunities for British companies in high-growth markets. It follows the release on Friday of another UK Trade & Investment report, titled “Building South Africa: opportunities for the UK construction sector”, which highlights opportunities stemming from the South African government’s multi-billion rand infrastructure development plans. “South Africa is a fast growth economy with infrastructure plans to match,” UK Trade & Investment CEO Andrew Cahn said in a statement on Friday. “With investment opportunities in both private and public sectors, coupled with a severe skills shortage, now is the time for UK companies to take advantage of the construction boom.”‘Gain a foothold in sub-Saharan Africa’ Cahn said South Africa’s infrastructure spending plan was set to accelerate the annual growth of the economy by between 4.5% and 6%. “Its ambitious plans for mass transport, water projects, prisons, hospital and prison upgrades provide plenty of opportunities for UK companies,” Cahn said. “This investment, and events like the 2010 football World Cup, are acting as a catalyst for growth in the private construction sector. Opportunities include hotel and residential development as well as urban regeneration projects. “By establishing a business in South Africa, UK companies can gain a foothold into sub-Saharan Africa.” Several UK companies are already actively involved in major infrastructure projects for South Africa, including Bombardier Transportation UK Ltd, which is providing the new train fleet for the Gautrain project, and Mott MacDonald, which is involved in state logistics company Transnet’s rail and port expansion programme. UK Trade & Investment’s presence in South Africa “is stronger than ever, with 34 staff based in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to support these opportunities and expansions,” the agency said on Friday.South African Press Association (Sapa), with additional reporting by SAinfo 15 October 2009last_img read more

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Joel Penhorwood has accepted a job with Select Sires and will no longer be contributing his considerable talents with the OCJ/OAN team. We are sad to see Joel move on but wish him well as he takes on a new chapter in his career. Thanks Joel for your hard work and best of luck in your future endeavors. Here are some of our favorite posts from Joel:Super Bowl corn syrup controversy commentarylast_img