We at The Motley Fool have given quite a lot of attention to the prolonged death rattle of once-great toy retailer Toys "R" Us
While we've all known since August that Toys "R" Us was considering a sale of the toy business, things have gotten a bit more interesting of late. Specifically, The Wall Street Journal has reported that two well-known private investor groups -- Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts and Cerberus Capital Management -- have offered more than $5.5 billion each (in competing bids) for the whole kit and caboodle.
Though the company indicated that it is still considering offers for just the toy stores, it appears that it will entertain offers for the entire company as well. That means that while former bidding groups Bain Capital-VornadoRealty Trust
Given that disentangling the fast-growing Babies "R" Us from the toy business might prove a little more complicated and contentious than previously thought (particularly with respect to assigning high-value assets to one business or the other), a bid for the whole company certainly makes a bit of sense.
What should investors do? Probably not much of anything right now. These bids have yet to be officially acknowledged and there's no telling if competition will push the price even higher (some analysts have speculated that Toys "R" Us could be worth more than $6 billion if various real estate assets were sold).
For a company that's had essentially no meaningful revenue growth for nearly seven years, speculation about a restructuring and/or buyout has been quite healthy for the stock. Toys "R" Us shares are up more than 50% in the past year and at the highest level they've seen since mid-2001.
Is there a lesson in all of this? Sure. Hard assets and a good brand always have some value in the marketplace and aggressive deep-value investors can be well-rewarded for taking the time to unearth those turnaround or buy-out possibilities. While it sometimes takes time to play out, I don't think anybody who bought Toys "R" Us shares in the single digits back in early 2003 is complaining about having had to wait a bit for a payoff.
For more on the Foolish world of toys:
- Hasbro Dons Square Pants
- Hasbro Is No Has-Been
- Action Products Is the Big Mover
- Toy Store Faces a Fork in the Road
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).