Nation & World

Toys 'R' Us champion Larian steps forward with $100 million

A closed Toys 'R' Us store is seen near York, Britain March 21, 2018.   REUTERS/Phil Noble
A closed Toys 'R' Us store is seen near York, Britain March 21, 2018. REUTERS/Phil Noble

The head of the company that created Bratz dolls and Little Tikes sees a future Toys “R” Us that lives on past the company’s expected liquidation.

MGA Entertainment CEO Isaac Larian said he has personally put forward roughly $100 million to help buy the toy store company’s assets and expects 200 to 400 U.S. stores can be saved.

The retail chain said last week it plans to seel or close all 800 of its U.S. stores., which would affect up to 33,000 employees.

Toys “R” Us has a store on Wiley Boulevard SW in Cedar Rapids.

“There is a lot of value in the Toys ‘R’ Us name, a lot of value in all the assets that they have,” Larian said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “If Toys ‘R’ Us is not here, I think the toy business as a whole will have a devastating year — this year and the following year.”

Larian’s push to help the toy retailer survive liquidation includes a bid that MGA and a group of investors made for the Canadian assets of Toys “R” Us last week.

Outside of MGA, Larian and other investors launched a campaign on GoFundMe for the purchase of assets from the company. Their goal is to raise $1 billion by Memorial Day.

The bankruptcy and subsequent liquidation of Toys “R” Us has bludgeoned toymakers, which stand to lose a key distribution channel and platform to test new products. Mattel Inc.’s stock has lost about 47 percent of its value in the last 12 months, with Hasbro Inc. slipping more than 14 percent over the same period.

MGA, based in Van Nuys, California, is privately held.

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Amazon.com is also said to be considering buying some of the stores in a move to expand its retail footprint and showcase hardware like the Echo line of devices. The liquidating company filed for bankruptcy in September and has struggled to find bidders for other assets.

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