The CEO of Van Nuys-based MGA Entertainment Inc., manufacturer of Bratz dolls and Little Tikes toys, said Thursday that he and other unnamed investors have personally pledged $200 million in financing and hope to raise four times that amount through a GoFundMe campaign aimed at saving toy retailer Toys R Us.
The goal is to raise $1 billion, which would be used in for a bid to acquire all or some Toys R Us assets through the bankruptcy process, according to a statement issued on billionaire Isaac Larian’s behalf.
In addition to the initial contribution, Larian has pledged to commit 10 percent of all proceeds from Little Tikes purchases made between now and the end of the crowdfunding campaign, according to the statement.
“If there is no Toys R Us, I don’t think there is a toy business,” Larian said. “There is nothing quite like the joy and awe of a child walking through the aisles of a Toys R Us store. I want to preserve that innocent experience for future generations. We can’t sit back and just let it disappear. Everyone deserves to be a Toys R Us kid.”
Larian’s company, though not financially involved in his effort to keep Toys R Us afloat, would benefit as one of its major suppliers, as would rival toymakers such as El Segundo-based Mattel Inc. and Hasbro Inc.
Larian told the Los Angeles Times that the loss of Toys R Us would have far-reaching effects beyond the toy industry. He said about 130,000 U.S. jobs are at risk, not only at Toys R but at trucking companies, distribution centers and other businesses with connections to the retailer, which had no comment on Larian’s bids.
One week after announcing it would be closing all of its stores for good, Toys R Us had planned to begin liquidation sales across the country Thursday, but delayed the start for at least one day.
Donations are being accepted via GoFundMe at www.savetoysrus.com. The deadline for reaching the $1 billion goal is Memorial Day — May 28.