Source: Tru Kids Brands

Another chapter in the Toys “R” Us saga has begun.

New York-based brand acquisition and management firm WHP Global acquired a controlling interest in Tru Kids Inc., the parent company of Toys “R” Us, Babies “R” Us, Geoffrey Giraffe, and more than 20 consumer brands — including Animal Alley, Animal Zone, Avigo, Bruin, Dream Dazzlers, EduScience, FastLane, Imaginarium, Just Like Home, Just Like Home Workshop, Journey Girls, Koala Baby, Pavillion, Sizzlin’ Cool, Stats Sports, Totally Me!, True Heroes, and You & Me.

“Our investment in Toys ‘R’ Us reflects our belief and passion for the brand, says Yehuda Shmidman, chairman and CEO at WHP. “We are thrilled to be taking the reins of the world’s leading toy brand at a time when the category is up 16% and consumer demand for toys is at an all-time high. This is a natural fit for WHP, as we can leverage our global network and digital platform to help grow Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us around the world.”

Shmidman has served as vice chairman of Tru Kids since 2019.

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Despite its struggles to relaunch Toys “R” Us in the U.S., Tru Kids generates more than $2 billion in global retail sales annually through its licensing agreements for the Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us brands. The brands maintain a presence in more than 25 countries for both physical retail locations and e-commerce sites.

The ownership of Tru Kids is comprised of WHP alongside other investment groups, including funds managed by Solus Alternative Asset Management and funds managed by the private equity group Ares Management Corporation.

Effective immediately, WHP will manage the global TRU business and direct its strategic expansion.

Since emerging from bankruptcy as Tru Kids Brands in 2019, Toys “R” Us has faced a rocky road in relaunching physical stores and e-commerce in the U.S. The company entered into a short-lived deal with Target to power digital sales for and a pair of new retail concept stores in Texas and New Jersey. The stores quietly closed in January.

With news of WHP’s acquisition, it appears that additional leadership changes are in progress at Tru Kids. Richard Barry, who had previously served as president and CEO is now listed as CEO emeritus and special advisor to the board on the Tru Kids website.

About the author

James Zahn

James Zahn

James Zahn, AKA The Rock Father, is Editor-in-Chief of The Toy Book, a Senior Editor at The Toy Insider and The Pop Insider, and Editor of The Toy Report, The Toy Book‘s weekly industry newsletter. As a pop culture and toy industry expert, Zahn has appeared as a panelist and guest at events including Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC) Wizard World Chicago, and the ASTRA Marketplace & Academy. Zahn has more than 30 years of experience in the entertainment, retail, and publishing industries, and is frequently called upon to offer expert commentary for publications such as Forbes, Marketwatch, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USA Today, Reuters, the Washington Post, and more. James has appeared on History Channel’s Modern Marvels, was interviewed by Larry King and Anderson Cooper, and has been seen on Yahoo! Finance, CNN, CNBC, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, CBS, WGN, The CW, and more. Zahn joined the Adventure Media & Events family in 2016, initially serving as a member of the Parent Advisory Board after penning articles for the Netflix Stream Team, Fandango Family, PBS KIDS, Sprout Parents (now Universal Kids), PopSugar, and Chicago Parent. He eventually joined the company full time as a Senior Editor and moved up the ranks to Deputy Editor and Editor-in-Chief.