Oaktree’s WHP Buys Tru Kids

WHP Global has acquired a controlling interest in Tru Kids, the owner of the Toys”R”Us, Babies”R”Us, and Geoffrey the Giraffe brands.

Tru Kids was founded in 2019 by the lenders to the now bankrupt Toys “R” Us as a vehicle to take ownership of the company’s intellectual property. In addition to the Toys”R”Us, Babies”R”Us, Geoffrey the Giraffe brands, other Tru Kids’ brands include Journey Girls, Fastlane, True Heroes, You & Me, Just Like Home and Imaginarium.

According to WHP, the Tru Kids’ brands generate over $2 billion in retail sales annually through nearly 900 branded stores and e-commerce sites in more than 25 countries across North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East.

Other institutional shareholders of Tru Kids include Solus Alternative Asset Management and Ares Management. Tru Kids is headquartered in Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey with additional offices in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China.

New York City-based WHP is an active acquirer of consumer brands with legacy character traits. The company was founded in July 2019 by CEO Yehuda Shmidman with backing from Oaktree Capital to acquire fashion brand Anne Klein from Premier Brands Group. In March 2020, WHP acquired the fashion brand Joseph Abboud from Tailored Brands.

In November 2020, WHP launched WHP+, a turnkey direct-to-consumer digital e-commerce platform that includes in-house operations to support technology, data analytics, logistics, creative and digital marketing.

“Our investment in Toys”R”Us reflects our belief and passion for the brand,” said Mr. Shmidman. “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 WHP+ digital platform to help grow Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us around the world.”

Oaktree makes investments in distressed debt, corporate debt (including high yield debt and senior loans), control investing, convertible securities, real estate, and publicly-traded equities.  The Los Angeles-headquartered firm has over 950 employees and approximately $120 billion in assets under management.

© 2021 Private Equity Professional | March 16, 2021

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