Geoffrey the Giraffe is seen on the aspect of a Toys “R” Us truck March 17, 2005 in Colma, California.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images
Toys R Us has a new owner — again.
The model administration firm WHP Global introduced Monday it has acquired a controlling curiosity in Tru Kids, the dad or mum firm of the Toys R Us, Babies R Us and Geoffrey the Giraffe manufacturers.
“We’re in the brand business, and Toys R Us is the single most credible, trusted and beloved toy brand in the world,” Yehuda Shmidman, chairman and chief government officer of WHP, mentioned in an interview. “We’re coming off a year where toys are just on fire. … And for Toys R Us, the U.S. is really a blank canvas.”
Shmidman has been serving as vice chair of Tru Kids since 2019. Tru Kids, which is backed by Solus Alternative Asset Management and funds managed by non-public fairness group Ares Management, purchased the manufacturers and mental property from Toys R Us after it filed for Chapter 11 chapter safety in September 2017. Toys R Us was finally unable to emerge from chapter by itself following a crippling 2017 vacation season, pushing it into liquidation.
Tru Kids has tried a variety of methods to fire up momentum since, together with opening two pop-up areas in the United States with assist from tech platform b8ta. But these closed earlier this 12 months due to poor mall site visitors, which has been particularly suppressed throughout the Covid pandemic. For a time period, big-box retailer Target powered Toys R Us’ web site. Currently, all purchases on ToysRUs.com are redirected to Amazon.
“The restructurings took a big toll on the company,” Shmidman mentioned. “And then Covid is, hopefully, once in a century. But now we’re getting past those two things. And the sky’s the limit.”
Going ahead, WHP mentioned it will likely be managing the world Tru Kids enterprise, and information its growth. Toys R Us and Babies R Us collectively have over 900 branded stores in greater than 25 international locations — in components of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and the Middle East.
In North America, Shmidman mentioned the plan is to open Toys R Us stores, again — ideally a quantity forward of this vacation season. He mentioned this might come in numerous codecs: flagships, pop-ups, airport areas or mini stores inside different retailers’ outlets. WHP hasn’t but set a quantity for what number of areas it plans to open in the U.S.
“There are so many malls that will no longer be in the future, so we don’t need to be there,” Shmidman mentioned. “But we could be in malls that do have traffic. … So we really have an opportunity not just to capture that experience for toys that people are yearning for, but also capture where [people] want to shop. That will be very interesting post-Covid.”
WHP is backed by a $350 million fairness dedication from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.
Financial phrases of the deal weren’t disclosed.