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Buyers make their plays for eToys and Circuit City
Operating under bankruptcy court protection, The Parent Co. and Circuit City Stores Inc. still have venerable brands that other companies expect to revive online. Toys ‘R’ Us has acquired Parent’s eToys.com, BabyUniverse.com and ePregnancy.com, and Hilco Trading Co. is interested in buying Circuit City’s brand and e-commerce assets.
Operating under bankruptcy-court protection, The Parent Co. and Circuit City Stores Inc. still have venerable brands that other companies expect to revive online.
The Parent Co., which operates several retail sites including eToys.com, BabyUniverse.com and ePregnancy.com, has sold these and other e-commerce operations to former rival Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. Terms were not disclosed.
Toys ‘R’ Us, which had more than $400 million in 2007 online sales, compared to just over $100 million for The Parent Co., says the acquired properties will continue to operate as separate e-commerce brands. But Toys ‘R’ Us will assume all operations including merchandising, site management, distribution and marketing, the company says.
“We believe the acquisition of eToys.com, together with BabyUniverse.com and ePregnancy.com, will advance our leadership in the toy and baby products sectors and position the company for strong market share growth,” Toys ‘R’ Us CEO Jerry Storch says.
Multi-channel retailer Circuit City, meanwhile, plans to shut its chain of nearly 600 stores this month. But its CircuitCity.com e-commerce site may see new life.
Hilco Trading Co. Inc., which recently teamed with Gordon Brothers Brands LLC to buy the intellectual property assets and the retail web site of Linens ‘N Things, has placed a bid to acquire Circuit City’s brand and e-commerce assets. Hilco’s bid, for which the company has not released financial details, must be approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
It’s possible that other bidders could arise before the court makes a decision. CircuitCity.com reported 2007 web sales of $1.4 billion.