Toys “R” Us Inc. has turned away an offer from the founder of MGA Entertainment Inc. to keep some of its North American stores open, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
The bid from Isaac Larian didn’t qualify under auction rules approved by the judge overseeing the bankruptcy, the person said. Two other bids for Toys “R” Us’s Canadian operations, from unspecified parties, also didn’t qualify, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing the confidential procedure.
The company is still trying to get at least one offer nailed down this week so it can set a floor for a coming auction of its Canadian business, the person said. The rejection of Larian’s offer was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.
Larian had said he would pay $675 million for the U.S. stores and $215 million for outlets in Canada. The would-be rescuer is the chief executive officer of MGA, which sells toys including Little Tikes and Bratz.
“We worked hard and made a bona fide, fair offer for Toys ‘R’ Us USA to keep it going,” and save thousands of dollars, Larian said. “At the minimum , we expect them to get back to us with a fair counteroffer.”
The Wayne, N.J.-based company filed for bankruptcy in September, hoping to shed debt and turn around the business. But after dismal sales during the holiday season, it opted to liquidate its U.S. operations and try to sell its Canadian business as a going concern at an auction scheduled for Wednesday.
It was unclear today whether the company planned to hold the auction as planned, or wait until it has a so-called stalking horse, or lead, bidder.
In a separate process, Toys “R” Us is also trying to sell its Asian business.