Lawyers and advisers for Toys R Us have reportedly turned down a last-minute bid for the retailer's U.S. stores from toy-company founder Isaac Larian because his offer didn’t meet the threshold set by the court, according to a person familiar with the matter. But Larian, founder of MGA Entertainment, said on Tuesday (April 17) that he hadn’t been formally notified that the bid wasn’t qualified, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.
“If that’s the case, it’s really a shame that they’re going to let this company go into liquidation instead of at least responding and saying we need more or we need this,” Larian told WSJ.
Larian had made an offer of $675 million for the Toys R Us stores in the U.S. In addition, he bid $215 million for the retailer’s operations in Canada. Advisers and lawyers for Toys R Us are still reportedly looking at bids for the retailer’s business in Canada.
The retailer has over 700 remaining locations in the U.S., including those under the Babies R Us banner. If completed, the company’s liquidation would be among the largest in retail history since Sports Authority closed nearly 500 stores, WSJ reported. Since a leveraged buyout, Toys R Us has been burdened with over $5 billion in debt. Competition from eCommerce retailers such as Amazon and discount stores such as Walmart hasn’t helped the company either.
Beyond the U.S., Toys R Us Chief Executive David Brandon said the company may liquidate its operations in France, Spain, Poland and Australia. In addition, the company hopes to find a buyer for its Canadian business, which it plans to package with 200 stores in the U.S.
“We’re putting a for-sale sign on everything,” Brandon told employees, the WSJ had reported. “Frankly, all anyone has to do is offer one dollar more.”
Toys R Us had approximately 1,600 stores globally, with about half of them in the U.S. when it filed for bankruptcy protection in September.