Isaac Larian

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Isaac Larian
Native name اسحاق لاریان
Born (1954-03-28) March 28, 1954 (age 64)
Kashan, Iran
Occupation Founder and CEO, MGA Entertainment
Net worth US$ 1.17 billion (April 2017)[1]
Spouse(s) Angela Neman
Children Cameron Larian
Jason Larian
Jasmin Larian

Isaac Larian (Persian: اسحاق لاریان‎, born March 28, 1954) is an Iranian-born American billionaire businessman, and the chief executive officer (CEO) of MGA Entertainment, the world's largest privately-owned toy company.[2]

Biography[edit]

Born to a Jewish family in Iran,[3][4][5] Larian has three sisters and one brother.[citation needed] Larian arrived to the United States alone in 1971 at the age of 17.[3] After graduating from California State University, Los Angeles in civil engineering,[3][4] he started an import-export business[4] with his brother Fred in 1979 after his plans to return to Iran were ended by the 1979 Iranian Revolution.[4] They then re-positioned the business into consumer electronics.[4] In 1987, they became a distributor for Nintendo and in 1993, they became a licensee for the "Power Rangers."[3] In 1997, toys became their focus and they had their first internal success with the Singing Bouncy Baby.[4] In 1998, he changed his company’s name to MGA Entertainment.[2] In 2000, his brother sold his 45% stake in the company to Larian for $9 million[4] and in 2001, MGA developed the "Bratz" doll.[3] Two of the dolls bear the names of his children, son Cameron and daughter Jasmin (although her doll uses the Persian spelling Yasmin).[citation needed] In 2005, Bratz sales totaled $800 million well ahead of their main rival, Barbie with $445 million in sales.[4] In 2004, Mattel sued MGA alleging that the designer of the Bratz doll had developed the concept while working for Mattel and that MGA had paid Mattel employees to work on MGA projects. MGA counter sued alleging that Mattel spied on its salesmen by masquerading as toy buyers, repositioned Bratz displays in retail stores to less favorable arrangements, and that Mattel paid retailers to favor Barbie over Bratz.[4] On August 5, 2011 Mattel was also ordered to pay MGA $310 million for attorney fees, stealing trade secrets, and false claims.[6] Due to a technical procedural issue having nothing to do with the merits of the claims, the Ninth circuit vacated without prejudice the $170 million portion of the judgment against Mattel for this misconduct. On January 13, 2014, MGA filed a complaint for these claims in State court in California seeking in excess of $1 billion and this lawsuit is currently pending.[7][8] In November 2006, MGA purchased the manufacturer of infant and toddler toys, Little Tikes.[4] In 2010, MGA released the highly successful "Lalaloopsy" doll.[4]

On March 21, 2018, Larian launched a GoFundMe campaign to acquire Toys "R" Us after news broke out of them declaring bankruptcy. Larian posted $200 million of his own money to get the campaign running, and a goal of $1 billion was set. According to the campaign description, all the money raised would be used in the formulation of a bid to acquire some of the company's assets throughout the bankruptcy process. The campaign has a deadline of May 28, 2018, Memorial Day. Any donations from supporters of the campaign would only be donations and would not result in donors receiving equity in any potential acquisition of the company.[9] Larian ultimately ditched the GoFundMe campaign after generating less than $60,000 by April 6th. On April 13th, Larian placed a bid of $890 million USD. Of the $890 million, $675 million is to buy 274 Toys R Us stores in the US, and $215 million to acquire 82 Canadian stores.[10]

Accolades[edit]

He was named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the consumer products category in 2004.[citation needed] He was also named the overall national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2007.[2] His motto, "Fortune favors the bold" is displayed throughout MGA's building.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Angela Neman who is also of Iranian Jewish descent.[11][12] They have three children: Jason, Jasmin and Cameron.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Isaac Larian". Forbes.com. Retrieved April 30, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c MGAE.COM: "MGA ENTERTAINMENT’S ISAAC LARIAN NAMED ERNST & YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR 2007 NATIONAL WINNER November 11, 2007 | Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e Bratz toymaker Isaac Larian living the American dream. JewishJournal.com, December 6, 2007. Retrieved July 7, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Forbes: "The Toy Mogul Who Became A Billionaire Through His Fight To The Death With Barbie" by Abram Brown November 18, 2013
  5. ^ Jewish Telegraph Agency: "Bratz: Jewish man’s answer to Barbie" By Lisa Keys August 7, 2007
  6. ^ Chang, Andrea (August 5, 2011). "Mattel must pay MGA $310 million in Bratz case". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 5, 2011. 
  7. ^ Bratz Doll Maker MGA Entertainment Sues Mattel January 13, 2014
  8. ^ Barbie Plays Dirty, Bratz's Dirty Tricks Suit Claims January 16, 2014
  9. ^ https://www.gofundme.com/helpsavetoysrus
  10. ^ Cosgrove, Jaclyn (13 April 2018). "Toy mogul Isaac Larian ditches GoFundMe campaign and bids $890 million for Toys R Us stores". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 April 2018. 
  11. ^ Nieder, Alison A. (December 29, 2000). "Feizollah Neman Dies at 80". Apparel News. 
  12. ^ a b Lobel, Orly (November 14, 2017). You Don't Own Me: How Mattel v. MGA Entertainment Exposed Barbie's Dark Side. W. W. Norton & Company. 

External links[edit]