In March 2021 brand management company WHP Global announced it had acquired a controlling interest in Tru Kids, the parent company of the Toys R Us and Babies R Us brands. Tru Kids bought the brands and intellectual property from Toys R Us after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2017.
WHP plans to open a number of Toys R Us stores again in the U.S., ideally ahead of the 2021 holiday season. 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.”
Shmidman has been serving as vice chair of Tru Kids since 2019. Tru Kids, which is backed by Solus Alternative Asset Management and funds managed by private equity group Ares Management, bought the brands and intellectual property from Toys R Us after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September 2017. Toys R Us was ultimately unable to emerge from bankruptcy on its own following a crippling 2017 holiday season, pushing it into liquidation.
WHP is backed by a $350 million equity commitment from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management.
Founded in 1948 by Charles Lazarus as a baby furniture store, specialty retailer Toys "R" Us and its subsidiary, Babies "R" Us, operate 1,542 retail stores worldwide. Stores sell toys, baby products and children's apparel. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital and Vornado Realty acquired the company and took it private in July 2005.