August 11, 2004
(With full credit to my colleague Mike Mayor for the title) Today’s announcement that Toys R Us was probably going to sell its retail toys business to focus on the better performing and higher margin and less Wal-Mart-threatened Babies R Us business made me a little sad. It’s really no different than the way Sandy Weill turned American Can into Primerica asset management. Or how Jack Welch sold off GE’s small appliance business and built the company into a financial services powerhouse. Companies transform themselves all the time in search of better earnings and higher multiples. But although it’s “just another” one of those corporate evolutions, I can’t help the notalgiac reflections on running up and down the aisles of Toys R Us with my parents when I was a little kid, begging them for, well, just about anything in the place. What’s next — Disney turning into a software company?