Toys “R” Us, the American toy, clothing and baby retailer, has been sold once again, only two year after Tru Kids Inc. acquired it in a liquidation sale. WHP Global, a brand management company, revealed it is purchasing a controlling interest in Tru Kids and is set to manage its business and growth.
“We are thrilled to be taking the reins of the world’s leading toy brand at a time when the category is up 16% and consumer demand for toys is at an all time high,” said WHP CEO Yehuda Shmidman in a press release. Toy sales have continued to skyrocket amid the ongoing pandemic.
Tru Kids acquired Toys R Us after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September of 2017. Since then Tru Kids has attempted various strategies to gain exposure, including pop-up shops within the United States, aided by tech platform b8ta. However, due to the lack of traffic within malls, those locations were forced to close down.
“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.”
A strategy for the brand has yet to be disclosed by WHP, nevertheless, Shmidman says the sale is a “natural fit” for the company as it can employ its “global network and digital platform to help grow Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us around the world.”
“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.”
WHP is supported by Oaktree Capital Management in an USD350 Million equity commitment.