All of Playboy May Soon Be for Sale

'Eyebrow-raising' company's expected asking price: $500M
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2016 7:56 AM CDT
All of Playboy May Soon Be for Sale
Hare today, gone tomorrow, Hef?   (Ian West/PA via AP)

The Easter Bunny gets top billing this weekend, but other famous bunnies are also making headlines with news of a possible big transaction. The Wall Street Journal reports Playboy Enterprises Inc. is in the exploratory stages of a sale, per sources familiar with the situation, with investment bank Moelis & Co. advising the magazine publisher. The asking price for the company—which CNNMoney notes would include its flagship magazine, the website, licensing, entertainment deals, and the infamous Playboy Mansion—could top $500 million. (The New York Times notes that, interestingly, 40% of Playboy's hefty licensing business streams in from China, where the magazine isn't even sold).

The company's interest in a sale was piqued when it decided to put founder Hugh Hefner's infamous home on the market in January, and bidders for the entire company started hopping out of the woodwork, leading Playboy to retain Moelis to see if that was viable. The company, which boasts on its site it's been "proudly raising eyebrows" for 60 years, has had a rough go of it lately. Once topping a circulation of 5.6 million at its peak in 1975 (now down to 800,000), Playboy magazine has tried to modernize—and famously got rid of nude photos—but CNN notes the magazine itself doesn't make a profit (it serves as the Playboy brand's "ambassador"); the company has had to slash costs and staff over the past few years. The company may be parceled out in pieces or not be sold at all after Moelis puts it up for auction, which it's expected to do. (Read more Playboy stories.)

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