Two entities with interest in acquiring some Toys R Us stores have emerged, but neither appears close to a rescue of a significant percentage of the 700+ locations closing in the U.S. The company filed to begin a liquidation of its operations in bankruptcy court last week after it failed to work out a deal with its creditors or find a buyer for the chain (see “Toys R Us Closing All US and UK Stores”).
The more promising of the two possibilities involves the efforts by MGA Entertainment (Bratz dolls, etc.) CEO Isaac Larian. Larian and “affiliated investors” have raised $200 million, according to their post on the GoFundMe page set up to support the effort. Other donors have contributed around $15,000 as of this writing. The effort seeks to raise $1 billion by a May 28 deadline, with the funds to be used “in the formulation of a bid to acquire some Toys ‘R’ Us assets through the bankruptcy process,” according to the crowdfunding info. Larian earlier said of Toys ‘R’ Us, “If there is no Toys ‘R’ Us, I don’t think there is a toy business.”
Amazon has also investigated the possibility of acquiring some locations, according to Bloomberg, but is not interested in using the Toys R Us brand and is unlikely to open toy stores; it may be looking for locations to expand its Whole Foods footprint.
Both seem like long shots, but there’s been a lot of nostalgia-driven affection for the chain expressed in the wake of the closing announcement, so perhaps that can translate into some deep-pocketed investors rallying to save at least some stores.