News Column

Toys 'R' Us taps specialist

August 7, 2014

By Joan Verdon, The Record (Hackensack, N.J.)



Aug. 07--An investment banker with a background in corporate restructuring has joined Toys "R" Us in Wayne as its senior vice president for corporate finance and treasurer, the company said in a news release Wednesday.

Chetan Bhandari will be responsible for managing relationships with domestic and international lenders, depository banks, credit insurers and credit rating agencies, as well as overseeing the company's global cash management, a company spokeswoman said.

He will report to Mike Short, executive vice president and chief financial officer. Bhandari is replacing Adil Mistry in the position.

Bhandari most recently was managing director at GLC Advisors & Co., an investment banking firm in New York. Previously, he was a managing director in investment banking at Goldman Sachs & Co., and was responsible for its consumer-retail group's leveraged finance business in the Americas.

Bhandari is taking over a job that has become increasingly important to Toys as it manages some $5 billion in debt it took on in a leveraged buyout of the company in 2005. Toys became a private company in that buyout, but its debt is traded publicly, making relationships with credit insurers and credit-rating agencies important.

The three firms that took Toys private Vornado Realty Trust, Bain Capital and KKR (Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts) had hoped to recoup their investment through a stock offering within three years of the buyout.

In 2010, the company announced plans for an initial public offering, but withdrew that plan last year following several years of disappointing sales results.

The cancellation of the IPO plan, the departure of the executive chosen to lead a turnaround of the company, and comments by Vornado that it is eager to exit its Toys investment, have caused speculation that Toys may be planning a restructuring, although executives have said they believe its current business model is viable.

Bhandari has been a managing director in the restructuring group at UBS Securities LLC and a vice president with Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp. He was a founding member of Merrill Lynch & Co.'s European leveraged finance business.

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Source: Record (Hackensack, NJ)


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