Isaac Larian Wants to Save Toys R Us; Can he do it?

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Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA, is an entrepreneur, a perpetual motion machine and, yes, a genius. He is one of those people our industry produces every decade or two who has the ability to change the landscape of our business. 

He has determined to save Toys R Us from itself and for all of us. Larian feels strongly that the industry needs Toys R Us and he has put together a group of investors ($200 million of his own money) to purchase the Canadian stores. He also wants to buy 400 of the American outlets and, to do that, has been running a Go Fund Me campaign in an attempt to get consumers involved in saving what he sees as a national icon (He wants to raise $1 billion and has already raised $200,000, according to the site, in one day.)

I have to hand it to him. While the rest of us are trying to figure out what is going to happen next, he is creating what is going to happen next. It is great for the industry because it provides hope and a model for action. It is also good for him and MGA as it demonstrates a fire of which the entire industry could use a little.

Can he do it? That's a multi-part question: Can he raise the capital? Can he get the bankruptcy court to agree? Will his competitors (Mattel and Hasbro) stand by while he does so? Can he make Toys R Us profitable if he should secure the company?

Here are my answers:

  • Can he raise the capital? Yes, its certainly possible. 
  • Can he get the court's approval? Its hard to know what the court will do. 
  • Can he make Toys R Us profitable? The man who created Bratz, Lalaloopsy and LOL Surprise and also won a court battle with Mattel is certainly capable of doing so.
  • Will his competitors (Mattel and Hasbro) stand by while he does so? That's an interesting question. Do they want a competitor controlling the major toy retailer? 

We live in a time of disruption. Disruptive times are when paradigms change and when opportunities occur. These are the times that favor a man with the kind of energy that Isaac Larian possesses. 

Stay tuned for this one. Its going to be very interesting.

6 thoughts

  1. Toys has had poor management for the last 20 years. None of the top Management really undrestood what Toys R Us was all about.Customers came to TOYS because of their assortment. Cutting down the assortment made the customers go to Target, Walmart and Amazon as they had the same mdse. at a lower price. TOYS overpayed their top executives toooo much money and didn’t pay the rank and file enough and these were the people that really mattered.Their debt was the main reason for their problems but again that goes back to poor management. There wasn’t any reason left for a customer to go back to TOYS.

  2. Richard : You are too kind. Life without passion and purpose isn’t worth living. I am passionate about kids and about toy business. Without Toys R Us, Toy business will never be the same.
    To answer your questions:
    1-I already have the funds and financing lined up to do this at the right price. I launched GoFund me to bring in the community and awareness to this.
    2-Most competitors ( except the #Evilempire. No toy retailere really needs their garbage anyway ) have privately given me their word of support if this succeeds. Remember that I’m doing this personally and NOT MGA.
    3-Can I make the new Toys R Us profitable? I did that with Little Tikes when we bought them in 2006 and with Zapf that was on the verge of bankruptcy when I got involved. They are both debt free and very profitable and with a lot of cash. I will make TRU very profitable.

  3. It’s a nice story, but a very slim chance. The first $200M pledged is his own money. So, really, the GoFundMe has raised just over $48,000 of a needed $800,000,000. It’s a good PR stunt but not much else.

  4. I’ve donated to #SaveToysRUs, and I hope others will do the same. I can’t imagine a world without ToysRUs, and my heart goes out to the thousands of team members who will lose their jobs. I’ve always believed that if you set your mind to do something and work as hard as you can, nothing is impossible. I believe that ToysRUs can be saved, and Mr. Larian is the man that can do it. I have a full time job as a general dentist, but if he saves the store in Wilkes Barre, PA, I’ll gladly work on the weekends at ToysRUs for free!

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