As shoppers across the country scramble to find good deals at hundreds of closing Toys R Us stores, a plan has been in the works to keep some of the stores afloat. On Friday, billionaire Isaac Larian announced his plan to buy more than 280 of the toy giant’s locations in the United States and Canada. The bid to take save Toys R Us comes in the form of a formal offer of $675 million to purchase many of the U.S. locations and an additional $215 million for select stores in Canada. Currently, there are 800 Toys R Us stores in the U.S. and Canada, thus this bid would keep more than one-third of the locations in operation.
As CEO of MGA Entertainment, Larian’s company runs the successful Little Tykes and Bratz dolls franchises. Larian will use his own personal funds as well as investments from banks to bankroll the acquisition. After the March announcement from Toys R Us that it would close or sell all of its locations, Larian launched a crowdfunding campaign in an effort to raise awareness and save the stores from demise. Toys R Us had previously declared bankruptcy last fall and was unable to secure funds to keep it in operation.
Larian’s plan is to resurrect stores in select locations that cater to tourists and are known as entertainment destinations. He desires to turn each location into more than just a retail store, envisioning a premier destination where families can spend an entire day engaging and having fun in each other’s company. Larian had previously expressed his belief that the closing of the stores would have a long-term negative effect on the toy industry. By waxing nostalgia for brick and mortar toy stores, Larian demonstrated his views that the industry needs to be preserved for future generations to continue to enjoy.