Nos­tal­gia has not trans­lated into dol­lars in Toys R Us ef­fort

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Business -

a lonG-shot ef­fort to crowd­fund a fu­ture for Toys R Us ended in dis­ap­point­ment. A cam­paign led by a bil­lion­aire toy ex­ec­u­tive who pledged $200 mil­lion with other in­vestors in hopes of sav­ing part of the bankrupt chain has foundered, with only $59,000 more raised in three weeks. Isaac Lar­ian said Thurs­day he’s dis­ap­pointed but still plans to for­mally sub­mit a bid this week for more than 300 stores in the U.S. and Canada. Lar­ian, CEO of pri­vately held MGA En­ter­prises that makes the pop­u­lar LOL Sur­prise dolls, said other toy com­pa­nies ini­tially were in­ter­ested in join­ing the crowd­fund­ing ef­fort but backed down. Lar­ian, who had said he would use his own money for the bid, said he was baffled and said they were pub­lic com­pa­nies think­ing about the short term. The liq­ui­da­tion of Toys R Us “is go­ing to have a long-term ef­fect on the toy busi­ness,” he said. “The toy in­dus­try is go­ing to suf­fer.”

He told The As­so­ci­ated Press that he plans to sub­mit to the bankruptcy court on Fri­day a for­mal bid of $675 mil­lion to buy 274 Toys R Us stores and use the brand name. The money will come from his own cof­fers, other in­vestors and bank fi­nanc­ing. He, along with other in­vestors, also plans to bid $215 mil­lion for the Cana­dian busi­ness of 82 stores. The Toys R Us crowd­fund­ing ef­fort was a long shot to start with, as Lar­ian touted plans to try to save 400 U.S. stores, or more than half of those set to liq­ui­date in the com­ing weeks.

Toys R Us’ trou­bles have al­ready shaken some big toy mak­ers like Mat­tel and Has­bro. The planned liq­ui­da­tion would have a big­ger im­pact on smaller toy com­pa­nies that had re­lied on the chain more heav­ily.

MGA En­ter­tain­ment, which also pro­duces Lit­tle Tikes and is based in Van Nuys, Cal­i­for­nia, has nearly 1 in ev­ery 5 sales of its prod­ucts rung up at a Toys R Us store. Bob Wann, the CEO of pri­vate toy com­pany PlayMon­ster LLC and chair­man of the Toy In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion trade group, ex­pects a flurry of ac­qui­si­tions of toy com­pa­nies but says the in­dus­try will be able to re­gain any lost sales in the next few years. The liq­ui­da­tion of Toys R Us, which threat­ens more than 30,000 jobs, would be the end of a com­pany bur­dened with $5 bil­lion in debt and hurt by shift­ing cur­rents in­clud­ing on­line shop­ping.

MGA CEO Isaac Lar­ian, (L), leaves fed­eral court in Santa Ana, Cal­i­for­nia af­ter a vic­tory over Mat­tel Inc.

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