Much has been made of Toys R Us deciding to shutter all of its stores throughout the U.S.
But if billionaire Isaac Larian has his way, some of those stores will never close down.
The CEO of MGA Entertainment — which produces children’s toys and sells about a fifth of them in Toys R Us — said in a statement that he entered a “formal bid” to buy the Canadian and U.S. locations for a combined price of $890 million. Toys R Us declared bankruptcy in September and then announced the closure of its stores in March.
Larian said he’ll pay for it with his own money and the help of investors.
“The time is now. Every day that goes by, the value of Toys ‘R’ Us declines and more people lose their jobs,” he said. “I did my part and now it’s up to the other side to accept this offer. If they do, the real work will begin.”
A spokesperson for Larian told CNN that the toy mogul is eying the purchase of 200 stores in the U.S. and the majority of the ones in Canada. There are about 800 Toys R Us stores closing in the U.S., according to The Associated Press. About 30,000 people could lose their jobs as a part of the closures.
Larian painted a fantastical image of what could be done with the hundreds of stores that are set to shut down in the near future.
“We will make Toys ‘R’ Us an experience in and of itself; a fun and engaging place where families can spend an entire day,” he said in the statement. “Imagine a mini-Disneyland in each neighborhood.”
He originally launched an initiative on GoFundMe to raise $1 billion and keep the stores open, according to the Los Angeles Times. Larian put $200 million into the campaign at the beginning — half from him and half from other investors — but only earned $59,500 from about 2,000 people. He stopped the campaign and said he won’t use the money.
His offer must be approved by the bankruptcy court, USA Today reported.
Larian said he hopes he can keep the brand alive.
“There is nothing quite like the joy and awe of a child walking through the aisles of a Toys ‘R’ Us store,” he said. “I want to preserve that innocent experience for future generations.”
Toys R Us has a six-day period to accept or decline the offer, Larian told NorthJersey.com in an interview.
“We have put our best foot forward,” he said, “and let’s see if they accept it or not.”