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Bain’s John Connaughton Calls Fund to Help Toys ‘R’ Us Workers Unique

Michael McDonald and Jason Kelly

(Bloomberg) -- John Connaughton, co-managing partner at Bain Capital, said that the decision to establish a $20 million fund to help workers who lost jobs when Toys “R” Us Inc. shuttered was the result of a unique set of circumstances.

Connaughton said that Bain, which owned the retailer along with KKR & Co., wanted to recapitalize Toys “R” Us within Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings but that creditors opted to liquidate the company. So Bain and KKR decided to each contribute $10 million to a fund to pay severance to former employees because it was “the right thing to do.”

“It’s just unique and exceptional in this context for the creditors as well as the company to be in this position where it was taken out of their hands,” Connaughton told Bloomberg Television Wednesday.

Toys “R” Us shuttered its last stores at the end of June and its liquidation left more than 30,000 workers without expected severance payouts.

Connaughton said that Bain is looking at investments in retail, though with a focus on companies that have strength in e-commerce.

For 2019, he sees interesting growth opportunities in big, global companies despite the swirling news around trade wars.

“While everyone is retreating away from globalization, we still feel like there’s a lot of opportunities for big global companies that have global strategies,” Connaughton said. “Many of the things we’re doing in China are not China deals any more. They’re really companies that are in Europe or the U.S. that have growth strategies in China.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Michael McDonald in Boston at mmcdonald10@bloomberg.net;Jason Kelly in New York at jkelly14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Margaret Collins at mcollins45@bloomberg.net, Vincent Bielski

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