Hefner Sparks Bidding War for Playboy

Founder wants to take media company private
By M. Morris,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2010 6:18 PM CDT
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner at the Playboy Mansion in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles, April 7, 2006. The company founder is offering to take Playboy Enterprises private.   (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, File)
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(Newser) – Founder Hugh Hefner wants to take Playboy private, and he mounted a bid today that values the struggling company at $185 million, Bloomberg reports. Playboy Enterprises stock closed up almost 41% and attracted interest from another party—but who would want a conglomerate that's lost $20 million in just 2 years in a world with porn available on practically every desktop? Penthouse, of course.

"We always knew it would be a good fit," the CEO of FriendFinder, which owns the Penthouse brand and is readying a formal bid, tells the Chicago Tribune. It won't be easy, because Hefner owns 69.5% percent of Playboy’s Class A stock and has said he's not interested in a third-party sale. Reassuringly, FriendFinder wouldn't evict Hef from the Playboy mansion should its attempt succeed: "Our interest is mostly the digital assets,” the CEO said. “We have no desire to throw him out."

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