Toys R Us has a new owner — again.
The brand management company WHP Global announced Monday it has acquired a controlling interest in Tru Kids, the parent company of the Toys R Us, Babies R Us and Geoffrey the Giraffe brands.
“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 executive officer of WHP, said 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 private equity group Ares Management, bought the brands and intellectual property from Toys R Us after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2017. Toys R Us was ultimately unable to emerge from bankruptcy on its own following a crippling 2017 holiday season, pushing it into liquidation.
Tru Kids has tried a number of strategies to stir up momentum since, including openingtwo pop-up locationsin the United States with help from tech platform b8ta. But those closed earlier this year due to poor mall traffic, which has been especially suppressed during theCovid pandemic. For a period of time, big-box retailerTargetpowered Toys R Us’ website. Currently, all purchases on ToysRUs.com are redirected toAmazon.
“The restructurings took a big toll on the company,” Shmidman said. “And then Covid is, hopefully, once in a century. But now we’re getting past those two things. And the sky’s the limit.”
Photo Credit: Getty Images