SBD/22/Sponsorships Advertising Marketing

TOPPS STOCK TAKING A HARD HIT. IS NOW THE TIME TO BUY?

     Last week Topps Co. announced that its sales dropped nearly
30% in the first quarter (ending May 27) due to the fallout from
the MLB players strike.  But, according to Miriam Leuchter of
CRAIN'S NEW YORK BUSINESS, baseball isn't Topps' only problem.
The stock "has been in the doldrums since the bottom fell out of
the once-hot sports card market a few years ago."  But analysts
and investors "see a number of good reasons to collect stock in
Topps."  One is the "growing strength of the confectionery
business," as sales of Bazooka gum, lollipops and taffey account
for nearly 1/3 of their total sales.  Another is the planned $50M
purchase of Merlin Publishing, a "fast-growing, highly
profitable" British company that has the 2nd largest collectible
sticker and album business in Europe (CRAIN'S NEW YORK, 6/19
issue).
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