Over the summer, many of us were forced to grow up, no longer to be Toys R Us kids as the chain closed its doors in the United States and elsewhere at the end of a miserable bankruptcy and liquidation process. But now according to both The Wall Street Journal and Fortune, the parties that obtained ownership of the intellectual property associated with Toys R Us like the brand names and Geoffrey, are interested in restarting the business themselves.
Previously it had been expected and planned that the IP for Toys R Us would be sold at auction to allow the creditors to recover money still owed to them after the liquidation, however that intent seems to have changed. Reports cite that the entities involved don't believe auctioning the rights would yield a better outcome than trying to directly put those assets to use. That could be interpreted as a bit of a cover story, either hiding that interest in the trademarks and such is poor and unlikely to have a worthwhile yield, or disguising that someone thinks there's a chance to cash in bigger over a longer term - perhaps even both together.
Regardless of the motives, the creditors likely have a long wait ahead of them for a return if they follow through on this plan. Everyone seems to agree that there's no possibility of starting business operations again in time for the holiday shopping season this year, meaning any such shambling corpse of Toys R Us would have to lurch along through several slower months until next year's big sales season. Another difficulty they'll face is securing facilities. Most of the company-owned property Toys R Us once resided in has changed hands to new owners, and it's unclear if property owners for previously leased locations would want to give another go to the toy retailer that folded once already in the last 12 months. Distribution infrastructure would also be a critical matter to be resolved before any real business plan could take shape.
Finally, there's a matter of supplier support. There's no guarantee that major manufacturers like Hasbro would want to jump right on board with the risen-from-its-grave company before it is able to prove that it can last and will actually be able to pay for their goods. If there is a road ahead for Toys R Us, it's not going to be an easy one, or a quick one. And whatever comes from it, even if dressed up like the original, is bound to be a very different kind of animal if or when it gets on its feet.
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