Is Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. about to make a comeback?
The US-based toy retailer collapsed in spectacular fashion earlier this year, eventually dragging its Australian arm down with it.
But the debtors of Toys ‘R’ Us have moved to cancel a planned auction of the company’s intellectual property this week, court documents filed with the United States bankruptcy court show.
The reason? Well, among other things, the debtors have said there’s a plan in the works to possibly open a new Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us branding company that would maintain the existing global license agreements for the businesses.
These companies would be able to “invest in, and create new, domestic [and] retail operating businesses”, as well as “expand its international presence and further develop its private brands business.”
A group of hedge funds currently controls the business, which includes lenders such as Solus Alternative Asset Management.
The debtors hold the rights to the brand names of Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us as well as website domains, the all-important Geoffrey the Giraffe and other assets.
Essentially, with some hefty investment, that means they can, at least theoretically, revive the business.
That would be good news for customers across the world that took to social media to express sadness at the collapse of the business earlier this year.
In Australia, an unsuccessful attempt was made by administrators to find a separate buyer for the local operation, the business had 44 stores.
Several, sometimes quirky, attempts were made to save the business prior to its collapse, including an $800 million crowdfunding tilt led by Isaac Larian, founder of toy manufacturer MGA Entertainment.
But in the months since the business stopped trading more than 30,000 workers have been fighting for severance pay, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Last week Toys ‘R’ Us’ private equity investors Bain Capital and KKR & Co. said they would create a $US20 million ($27.8 million) fund to distribute to workers, which distributed evenly equates to about $US600 ($836) for each worker.