He pledged $ 100 million of his own money and said he has another $ 100 million from other major unknown investors.
LOS ANGELES – Drawn by four children, all singing "Save Toys R Us", Isaac Larian sat in a red and yellow plastic toy car holding two guys in his lap as he walked in through the chain store Woodland Hills moved.
The 64-year-old toy magnate and his wild entourage were followed by the worn linoleum floor of a cameraman who was imprisoned at any moment.
The object of all this fun and games? A video to promote Larian's Save Toys R Us GoFundMe campaign, a lengthy effort to keep hundreds of chain stores open.
"Toys R Us is like a sick patient on the ICU table and if you do not operate fast, it will die," said Larian, managing director of Van Nuys-based MGA Entertainment, the maker of the popular Bratz doll. Last week, Larian announced that he started a campaign to raise $ 1
He did not have to look long Tuesday to see how little time he had. The liquidation sale started on Friday in all US stores, and in front of the San Fernando Valley store hung a large yellow-and-black temporary sign that simply said, "Out of business."
He has Larian numbers by early May at the latest
He has pledged $ 100 million of his own money and said he has another $ 100 million from other major unnamed investors. Still, he needs hundreds of millions more dollars to save the 200 to 400 US stores he wants to combine with 82 Canadian stores still in operation – if the bankruptcy court would accept the request.
Restructuring Adviser Larry Perkins has noted this The toy chain has been bankrupt for months and could not sign a contract to stay in business.
"I know virtually all the professionals involved in the case, investment bankers are some of the best in the world, and if that were a viable alternative, they might have discovered this stone," said Perkins, executive director of SierraConstellation Partners in Los Angeles ,
Others ridiculed the idea that a GoFundMe campaign could help them save Toys R Us.
The site typically collects a few thousand dollars for medical expenses or a family funeral
It has raised more than $ 21.2 million from nearly 20,500 donors in nearly three months. He said he wanted to raise up to $ 800 million from the donors on the platform.
Larian did not deny that the GoFundMe campaign was a bit of a publicity stunt, but said, "And what's wrong with that?"  He said that since the news of the campaign became known late last week, he has heard of other large private investors who believed that they were saving Toys R Us.
"They did not come and said:" I'll give you $ 100 million or $ 50 million, but these are very, very wealthy individuals who pay them a check for $ 300 million or $ 400 million Writing dollars is no problem, "Larian said.
And the campaign has resonated with the fans of the retailer, who has far less money.
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On Tuesday afternoon, it attracted just over 1,600 people who donated $ 49,000, in addition to the $ 200 million Larian and its investors have already given  The stakes are high for Larian and other Toymakers. Toys R Us is also a testing ground for big toymakers and accounts for about 18 to 20 percent of MGA sales.
The retailer has suffered a $ 5.3 billion leveraged buyout since it was acquired in 2005. Www.munichre.com/de/corporate/histo…zine_07.aspx CEO David Brandon said the chain plans to create interactive spaces with rooms for parties, product demonstrations and live presentations places for children to play with new toys without buying them. However, the company never had enough money to enforce the plan.
Larian declined to specify exactly how he would run the business if he controlled it, but pointed out something similar.
"It's not just about selling toys." It's an experience, and unfortunately, in recent years, when this company was controlled by private equity (corporations), not much has been invested to make these businesses interactive, "he said." You do not have to pay $ 110 to buy Disneyland to go. You can come to Toys R Us in your area.
For all his doubters and skeptics, Larian has people in the toy industry, such as industry expert Richard Gottlieb, who believe in him.
Gottlieb, general manager of Global Toy Experts, said the retailer under his recent ownership "out Love for toys fell in love "and went from" the world's largest toy store to the world's largest toy division. "
" Larian does not say he's trying to save what was – he wants to save what could be, and I think it He is very optimistic, "he said." He is Isaac Larian. He is a contrarian. He will not do what you expect him to do, and yes, it's a long shot, but see how much attention he gets. "