Last week, Toys “R” Us announced it would be closing all of its stores across the nation. Isaac Larian, the CEO behind the popular toy lines Little Tykes and Bratz dolls, stated that he and two other investors are pledging $200 million in an attempt to save approximately 400 of the 735 Toys “R” Us stores in the country.
“This is an American icon that has to be saved,” said Larian. “I used to take my kids there instead of Disneyland. This needs to be saved for the next generation.
Larian is also not intimidated by the financial losses the toy store chain has experienced in recent years. In total, the company has lost around $2.5 billion since 2012, which was the last year the company posted a full-year profit.
“During my life as an entrepreneur, I was often told something couldn’t be done, that no doll could challenge Barbie. And we’d still get it done,” he stated.
Larian blames the fall of Toys “R” Us on the companies private equity owners, whose billions of dollars in debts hindered the business.
“I was looking at it before liquidation,” said Larian. “It would have been better to be able to buy it before liquidation, but, if it’s going to be empty stores that we buy, I still think it can be saved.”
Larian’s company, MGA, also relies on Toys “R” Us for sales. Approximately 20 percent of MGA’s products are sold through the stores. He also attributes the toy retailer for helping his company reach success when it first began selling toys in 1979.
When it filed for bankruptcy in September, the Toys “R” Us, according to a report by CNN, owned approximately $5 billion.
“Every penny it made went to paying the debt service,” said Larian.
Larian is aware that it will take far more than $200 million to acquire the 400 Toys “R” Us stores, and has opened a GoFundMe page to help build up additional funds. So far, nearly $25,000 has been raised through the fundraising effort, along with the initial $200 million pledge.
He’s confident he can have the needed money, approximately $1 billion, by the end of May, and hopes the bankruptcy court will approve the purchase.