Mar 8, 2023 - Economy

Toys "R" Us owner now valued at $1.6 billion

Illustration of a giraffe eating money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Ares Management has invested $375 million for a minority equity stake in WHP Global, the retail brand management firm whose portfolio includes Toys "R" Us.

Zoom out: It's fascinating to see private equity go back to a well in which it previously drowned.

Details: The deal grants a $1.6 billion valuation to WHP, whose other brands include Babies "R" Us, Anne Klein, Isaac Mizrahi, Express, Lotto and Joseph Abboud.

  • Two partners at Ares will join the WHP board of directors.
  • Oaktree Capital Partners is an existing WHP investor.

The bottom line: Ares is buying into an asset-light model that benefits from consumer affinity for recognized brands, while sidestepping the operational headaches embedded in bricks and mortar.

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