Toys R Us was taken over in a debt-loading act of financial engineering in 2005; over the years, despite turning a profit, the service on that debt dragged Toys R Us lower and lower until the management team picked by the financial engineers finally bankrupted the company.
The top 17 execs at the company received $8.2 million in "retention bonuses" mere days before they took the company into bankruptcy. Now they want millions more -- $16M-$32M just to stay with the company while it "restructures."
The bankruptcy trustee is fighting not to pay the bonuses.
"It defies logic and wisdom," the objection by trustee Judy A. Robbins states, that Toys R Us is proposing "multimillion-dollar bonuses for the senior leadership of a company that began the year with employee layoffs and concludes it in the midst of the holiday season in bankruptcy.
"Apparently," Robbins said, "this Christmas, Toys R Us intends to deliver not only 'children their biggest smiles of the year' but the insiders, too,’ " which is a reference to court claims by Toys R Us that its No. 1 goal is to keep children happy.
Toys R Us bankruptcy trustee blasts executive bonus plan [Joan Verdon/USA Today/The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record]
The public markets are hungry: as Uber and Lyft look to IPOs to let their investors -- who have been subsidizing 40-50% of every ride -- redeem their shares through sales to the public capital markets, the companies are desperate for ways to reduce their unprofitability and increase those share prices.
Pepsi's plan to pay a Russian company called Startrocket to loft an artificial constellation of cubesats with mylar sails to advertise a "nonalcoholic energy beverage" has been cancelled for unspecified reasons (the company says its prototype launch using high-altitude balloons was a "one-time event").
* whether they deserve one or not
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