The Associated Press February 12, 2009, 4:20PM ET

Toys 'R' Us buys eToys.com, other sites

Toy retailer Toys 'R' Us Inc. on Thursday said it acquired online toy seller eToys.com from parent The Parent Co., which filed for bankruptcy protection in December.

Financial terms were undisclosed. The deal also includes Web sites BabyUniverse.com, an e-commerce site, and ePregnancy.com, a parenting-resource Web site.

Privately held Toys 'R' Us, which currently operates Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com, said the deal allows it to Web portfolio through three established Web sites.

The acquired Web sites will continue to operate under their own names.

Currently, the eToys Web site says it is "revitalizing, re-energizing and relaunching our Web site" and allows users to check their order status but not order new toys.

The acquisition comes as toy makers and sellers are suffering amid a consumer spending slowdown.

In February, the top 2 U.S. toy makers, Hasbro Inc. and Mattel Inc. reported significant fiscal fourth-quarter earnings declines, hurt by the weakest holiday season in decades.

In January, Toys 'R' Us, based in Wayne, N.J., reported that sales in stores open at least one year, a key retail metric known as same-store sales, fell 3.4 percent over the nine-week holiday season between Nov. 2 and Jan. 3.

Chris Byrne, content director at timetoplaymag.com, said the acquisition could help boost Toys 'R' Us's online presence.

"Toys 'R' Us has been investing heavily in making their online experience really strong," he said. "The 'eToys' brand name has had some cache and I'm sure they got a great deal."

The Parent co. has been exploring strategic alternatives for its businesses since it filed for bankruptcy protection.


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