Toys ‘R’ Us champion Larian steps forward with $100M

Justina Vasquez

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 CEO Isaac Larian and Host Jennie Garth attend the Netflix Series "Project Mc2" Part 5 Premiere in this September 7, 2017 file photo. Larian sees a future Toys “R” Us that lives on past the company’s expected liquidation.

MGA Entertainment Inc. Chief Executive Officer 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.

“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.

Amazon 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.