TRU gets a bid from a toy Isaac Larian – An Opinion
Category : Blog
I just saw a post shared on LinkedIn by the nypost.com detailing a deal proposed by Isaac Larian, head honcho behind toy mega-brand MGA.
In the article, it states that Mr. Larian has been busy collecting funds through his personal assets, crowd funding (gofundme that raised around $52k), and silent investors at a tune of a whopping $1 billion. This would be for a few hundred top performing TRU/BRU stores in the US as well as the Canadian division. He’s given TRU just under 10 days to answer.
This most certainly sounds like a very honorable thing to do, but unless the silent investor group names end in Bezos, Zuckerberg, Brin, Page or Musk, there’s going to be SERIOUS new grounds to be gained.
Mr. Larian does try to comfort everyone on LinkedIn by announcing his excitement for the highly innovative idea for the store that he has yet to reveal all while taking some cheap shots at Mattel… granted if what was said was true, then they rightfully deserved it. Personally, I have a sneaking suspicion that Mr. Larian made a ton of noise on LinkedIn as a ruse for the attention of the masses especially the soon-to-be TRU alumni. I’m sure he does care about the industry as he’s been a part of it for so long, but really I find a great deal of his appeal to the public as a stunt to grab more eye-balls, the currency of the internet. The eye-balls you control, the more value you will produce in this day and age. So, really whether he goes through with his bid or not, he’s already got the eye-ball attention of all lovers of TRU. Quite brilliant.
In this interview with Fox Business found on YouTube, the interviewer hit him with the obvious question about how to even continue the TRU business, and I didn’t really hear a convincing answer coming from Mr. Larian.
Physical retail is a massive beast of an operation, and its completely different from the business of marketing or the production side of things. Even top US brick and mortar retailers today are barely hanging on, and to find someone who is remotely capable of making this into a reality will be a miracle. Most high level execs I’ve known have very little understanding of the operational pressure involved with retail as most think its nothing more than the same thing as their current business with numbers be all there is to it. I saw this disconnect with my former employer where executives from all around the world simply had the completely wrong idea about retail execution. It finally came to fruition when the company hit its breaking point and its restructure practically dissolved into little bits and pieces of its former self.
Although my opinion on this isn’t for the better, I can see how its not impossible if Mr. Larian enables someone with a massive amount of social clout to make this happen. And its got to happen FAST. The $1 billion is for keeping the stores as they are: hemorrhaging money. They’ll need to do some serious renovations to make it worth peoples time, and who know how much that’ll cost.