California toy maker considers bid for Toys “R” Us Canada as U.K. stores close

TORONTO — A California-based toy company says it is bidding for the Canadian operations of Toys “R” Us Inc., the U.S. industry giant that entered court protection from creditors last September.

MGA Entertainment Inc. confirmed in an email Tuesday it has submitted a bid for the Canadian stores.

“Toys “R” Us Canada is a good business,” said MGA CEO Isaac Larian in a brief emailed statement.

“They run it efficiently, and have good leadership. At the right price, it makes economical sense.”

The company, which owns brands such as L.O.L. Surprise!, Little Tikes and Num Noms, refused in a followup email to give further detail about how much it is bidding or whether it wants to buy the entire chain or parts of it.

Meanwhile, the U.K. branch of Toys “R” Us announced Tuesday it would shutter all 75 locations in the country, and U.S. CEO David Brandon told the company’s workers that it plans to file liquidation papers Wednesday evening and sell or close all its U.S. locations, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Toys “R” Us Canada said it is operating as usual, repeating the message it gave last week when it was reported that Toys “R” Us would liquidate its U.S. operations after filing for bankruptcy.

The 82 Canadian stores will remain open for business and the company will continue to honour its existing customer policies and baby registry, gift card and loyalty point programs, said Clint Gaudry, Toys “R” Us Canada’s vice-president of marketing and store planning.

The Canadian arm filed for creditor protection in September, a day after the U.S. division filed for bankruptcy.

In January, Toys “R” Us announced it would also close 180 stores in the U.S. in the coming months.

Toys “R” Us is the latest brick-and-mortar retailer to struggle amid growing competition from online merchants and changing consumer preferences, after Sears Canada filed for CCAA protection in June.

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