Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

The lender group controlling Toys "R" Us has rejected an $890 million offer from billionaire Isaac Larian that would have involved the takeover of over 200 U.S. stores and more than 80 Canadian stores, according to multiple media reports.

Why it matters: A lot of jobs are at stake here, and the lenders seem uninterested in saving them.

Larian, who founded the company that makes Bratz dolls, had worked for the past month on his offer, which envisioned a revised store concept that he described as "a mini-Disneyland in each neighborhood." It had included both a crowdfunding campaign and involvement from banks UBS and BofA.

But the "B-4 lenders," who assumed control of Toys "R" Us after its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, have exhibited tunnel vision toward liquidation for the U.S. stores. In fact, Larian says he wasn't even informed his bid was being rejected, thus not giving him the opportunity to make it more attractive.

  • No, private equity still isn't off the hook here. It helped cause this mess in the first place, but it's no longer calling the shots.

What's next: A bankruptcy court auction is expected to take place today, but there is no word yet on if there are any other viable offers that would maintain the portfolio of performing U.S. stores.

Source: Giphy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

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Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

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