March 22, 2018

Toy manufacturer exec hopes to raise $1B to save Toys R Us

Photo/Grant Welker
The Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us store in Auburn is slated to close, though efforts are being made to revitalize the chain.

A billionaire toy manufacturer is hoping to crowdfund enough cash to acquire Toys R Us and save the dying toy retailer from bankruptcy.

Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA Entertainment in California, has already pledged to contribute $200 million with other investors with the hopes of reaching a $1-billion goal to acquire all or some of Toys R Us' assets through bankruptcy court.

Toys R Us in January announced plans to close 182 U.S. stores, including four in Central Massachusetts, but the New Jersey-based company last week said there would still be no viable path forward and announced plans to liquidate its U.S. operations.

That means all six Central Massachusetts stores - including Babies R Us stores - would close.

Larian, whose company makes Bratz dolls and created the Little Tikes brand, said the toy industry depends on Toys R Us.

"If there is no Toys R Us, I don't think there is a toy business," he said in a press release announcing the GoFundMe effort, which as of Thursday morning had raised just $1,500 over the $200 million already pledged by Larian and his group.

The deadline for reaching the $1-billion goal is May 28. Awards for each donation will be given, based on the amount.

Larian has told other media outlets he plans to save about 400 of the 735 U.S. stores, but it's unclear if those include any in Central Massachusetts.

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