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.