SoCal’s Bratz Doll Founder Bids $900M for Toys ‘R’ Us

Bratz (Saffy / Flickr / CC / Cropped)
Saffy / Flickr / CC / Cropped

MGA Entertainment, Inc., which made billions of dollars from the fashion forward “Bratz” dolls and Little Tykes toys, has bid $900 million for the failing Toys “R” Us brand and its 1,700 remaining stores.

CEO and founder Isaac Larian of San Fernando Valley-based MGA built a wildly profitable empire over the last two decades selling Bratz and Lalapoloopsy fashion dolls, big-eyed Moxie teen dolls, Bratzillaz witches, and Little Tykes toys. They recently entered the online video market with Project Mc2.

Along the way, MGA battled Mattel., Inc. claims for eight years that Bratz stole Barbie’s intellectual property, and fought all the way to the Supreme Court, coming up with a legal draw and an award of $137 million in legal fees from the Ninth Circuit.

Reuters reported that Toys “R” Us received a number of bids in excess of $1 billion for an 85 percent share of the Asian operations of the dominant toy retailer in the booming market.

Eight months into the September 18, 2017 Toys “R” Us bankruptcy, with no viable buyer for the North American operations and the asset’s enterprise value fading rapidly, Larian made a $900 million bid. He told NBC: “The time is now. Everyday that goes by, the value of Toys R Us declines and more people lose their jobs.”

The breakdown of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court bid by MGA is $675 million to buy 274 Toys “R” Us stores and obtain exclusive ownership of the brand name and files. MGA will also pay $215 million for 82 Canadian stores, with help of other investors. It is assumed that MGA will personally put up much of his own cash and use banking lines for the balance.

Larian had announced two months ago that he would use GoFundMe crowdsource financing to raise the cash for a $1 billion customer takeover fund of Toys “R” Us, but the effort collapsed after 22 days with 1,955 donors contributing just $59,000.

MGA is believed to have sold about 20 percent of its product line sales through the North American Toys “R” Us divisions, so it would seem that that keeping the channel alive could be very valuable to MGA. But its nemeses, El Segundo-based Mattel, Inc. and Pawtucket, Rhode Island rival Hasbro, Inc., would seem to have a vested interest in trying to make sure that the world’s former top toy retailer can be rehabilitated.

 

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