June 28, 2012

Maclaren Would Like You To Kindly Stop Mentioning Their Bankruptcy

So I just got a press release from Maclaren's new, what, branding crisis management consultant, I guess:

Please find the attached announcement by Maclaren, the world's leading brand in children strollers, to honor product liability claims affected by the liquidation of its former U.S. distributor, American Baby Products. It is important to note that in the past, the names of the companies at issue have been confused in the media coverage surrounding the American Baby Product's bankruptcy. Going forward, we ask that you kindly take note that American Baby Products -- the company in bankruptcy -- was formerly known as Maclaren USA and that Maclaren USA was a third party distributor of Maclaren strollers.
Several things here:

1) Good for Maclaren to own up to its responsibilities to the owners of the million-plus strollers they've sold over the years. Or at least the seven of them who filed lawsuits or other claims against the company for its products before May 1, 2012, the bankruptcy claim deadline, and who presumably would have been covered by corporate insurance anyway.

2) Now when you take the amputee toddlers off the creditor list, that leaves basically a bunch of Maclaren- and Farzad Rastegar-related corporate entities, who supposedly owe themselves a bunch of money--and David Netto.

Macopalypse of one, your table is ready! This sure seems like a lot of hassle, shenanigans, and brand damage to avoid paying a guy a million dollars, but I guess that's why Rastegar's the luxury branding expert, and I'm the Family Ferrari blogger.

3) And speaking of branding, this is the second time that Maclaren has tried to blame "confusion" in the "media" for all the unfortunate discussion of the company's dubious bankruptcy and recall-dodging.

Back in March, it was Maclaren North America regretting the "confusion" about its completely unrelated, unconnected, barely-knew-them predecessor, Maclaren USA. Now it's Maclaren--just Maclaren, thanks--trying to flick the "bankruptcy" booger off its finger by asking the confused media to "kindly note" that the bankrupt company "formerly known as Maclaren USA" is actually called American Baby Products. And that American Baby Products was--oh, sorry, "that Maclaren USA was a third party distributor of Maclaren strollers."

Let's tackle the third party thing first. Sure. Fine. Parties are people, too. Maclaren USA was a third party that was and is owned by the same guy who owns every other party. And who diverted its entire revenue stream to another third party he owns and saddled it with debts to himself and a bunch of his other parties, so he could drive that party off the bankruptcy cliff on New Year's Eve, and all for the purpose, of what? Of getting out from under the perpetual potential liability for 999,993 finger-chopping strollers? Or to unwind some luxury nursery furniture deal gone wrong? It just makes no sense.

Thumbnail image for maclaren_bankruptcy_filing.jpg

And as for the American Baby Products thing, actually, no. American Baby Product was not "formerly" known as Maclaren USA. It was always known as Maclaren USA. Maclaren USA is the d/b/a of American Baby Products, Inc., which was incorporated in 1999 by Farzad Rastegar.

If these corporate shell games are still causing anyone any confusion, just check Maclaren's website, maclarenbaby.com. Which is owned by Maclaren USA, Inc.

And Farzad Rastegar.


1 Comment

Hotmail. Emphasis yours? I guess he really was a pioneer.

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