Isaac Larian to focus on Toys R Us USA deal

Published on: 23rd April 2018

Outbid for 82 stores in Canada, Isaac is focusing on buying 274 Toys R Us stores in the United States.

Isaac Larian is abandoning efforts to buy the Canadian stores of Toys R Us and instead plans to sweeten his rejected bid for more than 200 US outlets of the retailer.

He told The LA Times on Sunday that he is satisfied that the 82 Canadian stores could be operated by Fairfax Financial Holdings. The Toronto investment firm, owned by billionaire Prem Watsa, reached a tentative deal last week with Toys R Us to buy the stores for $237m.

Isaac had bid $215m for the Canadian stores this month and could have submitted a higher bid today through an auction being held in US Bankruptcy Court. However, he said he respected Watsa, likening him to a Canadian Warren Buffett.

Larian said he had a conversation Sunday with Toys R Us bankruptcy advisors and will now focus on the US stores. He added that he submitted a $6m down payment in support of his Canadian bid but expects to get the money back once the Fairfax deal closes.

​​”I think they were genuinely serious about wanting to help me save what I can,” Larian said of his conversation with the advisors. “I am optimistic.”

Isaac said he and his team will spend the next week re-assessing the value of the stores, as well as unspecified Toys R Us intellectual property he is seeking. The stores are holding liquidation sales, which he argues is progressively devaluing what is left of the chain.

Toys R Us has some 3,750 employees in Canada whose jobs could be saved by the Fairfax deal.


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