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    Topps: No Decision On Sale of Company

    Confectionery company addresses industry buzz.

    Responding to market rumors, The Topps Co. Inc. says no decision has been made to sell the confectionery company.

    In 2004, Topps' board of directors authorized management to retain an outside consulting firm "to conduct a thorough strategic review of its domestic businesses and to help develop opportunities to increase shareholder value," the company said in a statement.

    As an outgrowth of that strategic review, in early 2005 the board retained Lehman Brothers to study various alternatives, "including without limitation, the evaluation of a sale of the company's confectionery business. That study is ongoing. However, no decision has been made at this point as to whether any sale or other transaction will be pursued."

    Additionally, the company said, the board authorized the consulting firm to conduct a second phase of the strategic review, focused on improving operational processes, methods and procedures across the entire business, domestic and international. That review is expected to be completed in the next 90 days.

    As previously disclosed, Topps suspended its stock repurchases during its fiscal fourth quarter and will continue in that mode until a public announcement regarding repurchases is made. "Moreover, the company does not intend to make any further comments in response to rumors concerning any asset sale or similar transaction unless a definitive agreement about such an event has been executed," the statement said.

    Topps is a creator and marketer of confectionery and entertainment products, including Ring Pop, Push Pop, Baby Bottle Pop and Juicy Drop Pop lollipops and Bazooka bubble gum. Topps also markets trading cards, sticker album collections and collectible games.

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