Playboy shares fall; Sales Rumors Were All BS

NEW YORK — Private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners said Wednesday that a media report indicating that it is interested in buying the men’s magazine publisher are untrue.

Playboy shares fell 23 cents, or 5.6 percent, to $3.87 in afternoon trading.

Oak Hill said Wednesday that it has never looked into buying Chicago-based Playboy, and won’t do so in the future.

Earlier this week, another firm, Golden Gate Capital, said that it will not be involved in any way with a possible purchase of Playboy.

Playboy shares had jumped last week after reports that Playboy was in talks with several parties, including Golden Gate and, separately, Iconix Brand Group Inc., about a potential purchase. A New York Post report also mentioned Oak Hill as one of several potential buyers.

Playboy spokesman Matt Pakula had no comment.

Playboy has been looking for a buyer since Scott Flanders became CEO in June, replacing longtime head Christie Hefner, the daughter of Hugh Hefner.

In the third quarter, Playboy’s ad revenue plunged 44 percent to $9.45 million, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Circulation declined 9 percent to 2.45 million in the first six months of the year, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported.

Playboy is also looking for a new chief financial officer. The company said Monday that current CFO Linda G. Havard will leave her post at the end of the year. Havard held the job for the past 12 years.

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