Why was Toys R Us for sale in the first place?
At its peak, Toys "R" Us was considered a classic example of a category killer, a business that specializes so thoroughly and efficiently in one sector that it pushes out competition from both smaller specialty stores and larger general retailers. Since the rise of mass merchants like Walmart, Target and Amazon, however, Toys "R" Us lost much of its share of the toy market, and fell behind Walmart in toy sales for 1998.
To improve the company, the board of directors installed John Eyler (formerly of FAO Schwarz) in 2000. Eyler launched an unsuccessful, expensive plan to remodel and re-launch the chain. Blaming market pressures (primarily competition from Walmart and Target), Toys "R" Us considered splitting its toy and baby businesses. On March 17, 2005, a consortium of Bain Capital Partners LLC, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Vornado Realty Trust announced a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout of the company. Public stock closed for the last time on July 21, 2005 at $26.74—a 63% increase since when it first announced that the company was put up for sale. Toys "R" Us became a privately owned entity after the buyout. However, the company still files with the Securities and Exchange Commission (as required by its debt agreements).
It sounds like they were already failing in the early 2000's when the buy-out took place. It would seem that private equity ownership kept the company running for far longer time than if they hadn't bought it. With the surge of Amazon in the last few years, Toys R Us had no chance, their prices for the same toys was higher than Walmart or Amazon. I know, I collect certain Star Wars figures and would only go to Toys R Us if they had any exclusives.
When my kids were growing up in the 2000's, we never bought them toys from there either. Walmart was always cheaper then as well. My parents to my knowledge never bought any of our toys from there either for the same reason. Only rich people shopped at Toys R Us, us poor folks shopped at K-Mart and Venture.