The historical family shareholder of the French toy group King Jouet is largely taking over Maxi Toys. This will save 826 of the more than 1,200 jobs in the Belgian toy chain, the French company announced on Tuesday.
This is a takeover by the historical shareholders of King Jouet – the Gueydon family – by the new legal entity New MT (New Maxi Toys). The Maxi Toys brand name will remain, the current management will remain and the chain will be managed autonomously, they say.
New MT will acquire two thirds of Maxi Toys’ assets. The head office remains in Houdeng-Goegnies in Hainaut and the distribution center (Logitoys) located there remains in operation. A total of 22 of the 54 Belgian branches will be taken over, 95 of the 129 in France. This will save a total of 826 jobs in both countries.
The Belgian branches are 20 of the 26 Maxi Toys branches acquired and only 2 of the 28 Maxi Toys City branches, the former Bart Smit branches, which are mainly located in Flanders, clarifies a spokeswoman. Maxi Toys took over the Belgian businesses from Bart Smit from the bankrupt Dutch Intertoys early last year. In New MT, only the Maxi Toys City stores in Brussels and Nivelles will remain on board, says the socialist union FGTB.
According to the FGTB, a total of 32 branches in Belgium with a total of 139 employees are excluded from the takeover. To this end, the trustee continues to seek a solution to the restructuring process that will run until November 18th. Due to the disappearance of these shops, New MT will not take over all employees of the distribution center in Houdeng-Goegnies: 31 people will lose their jobs according to the socialist union.
According to Philippe Gueydon, CEO of King Jouet, “the complementarity of brands and networks” and “the possible synergies” offer opportunities for Maxi Toys. “Our brand was in trouble, but it is built on a healthy and solid foundation,” says Alain Hellebaut, CEO of Maxi Toys. “Above all, the takeover by New MT will enable the coming Sinterklaas and the Christmas season to be a success.”
Maxi Toys filed for protection against its creditors in May. The company was “badly affected” by the corona crisis and saw “no other solution”. Five potential buyers came forward. In the end, the business court in Bergen on Tuesday approved New MT’s takeover bid, King Jouet said.
In total, Maxi Toys had more than 200 stores in four countries. In addition to Belgium and France, Luxembourg and Switzerland are also affected. The entire group employed around 1,200 people.
Maxi Toys has had a turbulent time in recent years. The chain was part of the Dutch group Blokker Holding for many years, but they exhibited a number of parts in May 2017. This includes Maxi Toys, which was acquired by the Portuguese investment company Green Swan in January 2019.
Blokker part of Intertoys ended up with the Portuguese after a takeover by the British investor Alteri and bankruptcy. In the meantime, the Dutch Blokker family had sold the retail chain with their name to CEO Michiel Witteveen. Blokker Holding renamed it the Mirage Retail Group and in September 2019 again took over Maxi Toys and Intertoys from Green Swan.