Billionaire Toy Maker Submits Bid to Save Toys R Us
I’m not sure if this is more of a publicity stunt or an actual effort to save the failing toy retailer, but it’s a story that we still think is worth considering for the time being.
Isaac Larian, the CEO of MGA Entertainment, believes he has a plan that will “make Toys R Us a fun place again.” The billionaire behind numerous successful toy brands including the Bratz dolls, Little Tikes, and L.O.L. Surprise, is seeking the help of others through a recently launched GoFundMe campaign.
To help #SaveToyRUs, Larian is hoping to raise $1 billion through the campaign over the course of the next month or so. In a little over three weeks he’s managed to secure just north of $200 million—most of which comes from his own pockets and those of other wealthy investors. The lower level donations by everyday consumers hoping to play a part in the toy retailers’ survival will net them anything from stickers and pins to t-shirts and toys.
For those able to drop a cool $10,000,000 into the campaign’s bucket, you’d receive: a bumper sticker, pins, magnets, a block party, a signed thank you letter from Larian, a Kid CEO of the Day experience, a Toys R Us store dedication naming rights, and toys for life from Toys R Us.
“You can be a part of this historic movement to #SaveToysRUs by donating today!” the campaign page reads. “Your donation will help to ensure that generations to come can ‘always be a Toys’R’Us kid’ and save employee jobs that are at stake should the company cease operation.”
The catch here—and the reason I’m not ready to fully commit myself to the idea that Larian’s bid is a genuine one—is that if the $1 billion goal is not reached by the May 28 deadline, the campaign will go unfunded and everyone who has donated will simply be reimbursed.
Further, Larian may not actually have a solid strategy in mind for how he’d handle owning Toys R Us. In very vague terms, he told NPR that he didn’t want to share any details of what a Larian-owned toy retail chain would look like. "We are still competing to buy Toys R Us, and I don't want other people to know what we plan to do," he said. "It's not going to be a minor thing. It's going to be a major thing."
It’ll be a major thing—so long as he gets his $1 billion bucks.