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Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

The creditors that opted to liquidate Toys "R" Us, despite having takeover offers on the table, now say that they might try to revive the brand — including the possible opening of new retail locations. This comes after calling off an auction for the retailer's brand name and other IP assets.

The big picture: If you're a fired Toys "R" Us worker right now, this development must make you want to scream. Almost everyone, including company management and Toys' previous private equity sponsors, told the creditors that liquidation was the wrong move, both financially and morally. No clue why it took them so long to reach the same conclusion.

Bain Capital and KKR have reached a preliminary agreement to contribute a combined $20 million to a fund for fired Toys "R" Us workers. There are still lots of details to be worked out, including distribution protocols. It will still be months before workers see any cash.

  • Per Carrie Gleason, policy director for a group representing the workers: "The Toys R Us employee fund is a huge step forward and thousands of struggling families who counted these jobs will benefit. That's why Toys R Us workers are fighting for the $75 million they were counting before the liquidation. Now is the time for Vornado and creditors like Solus, Angelo Gordon and others to join and contribute."
  • She adds that some former Toys workers testified at a New Jersey state pension fund meeting last Thursday, urging divestment from Solus.

The bottom line: Other private equity firms might not like to hear it, but this is creating industry precedent. Not for bankrupt portfolio companies, but for ones that also get liquidated.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

2 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.

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