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Playboy committee to consider Hefner’s $185M offer; But Hef Could Wind Up Being a Sharecropper

from – Hugh Hefner hasn’t wrested control of Playboy yet, but he seems to be a step closer.

Playboy Enterprises has formed a special committee to consider Hef’s proposal last month to buy out the company he founded decades ago and take it private.

Hefner’s bid was quickly countered by FriendFinder CEO and Penthouse owner Marc Bell, who submitted a proposal worth even more for the beleaguered media company.

Playboy insisted yesterday that the formation of the committee does not guarantee that Hefner, who wants to buy up the 30 percent of Playboy shares he does not own, will get the property.

Still, it at least indicates that Playboy, which installed a new CEO last summer in a bid to turn around its flagging fortunes, is taking Hefner’s $185 million bid seriously.

Attorney Sol Rosenthal, of the law firm Arnold & Porter, will chair the committee, which will also be made up of Playboy director Shing Tao.

Should the $210 million Penthouse bid ultimately succeed, Hefner will be forced to sell his 70 percent stake in the company. But Bell has said that Hef could remain in the Playboy mansion, a notion Media Life readers applauded in a recent poll.

Of course Playboy’s value these days is more about its name than anything else. The magazine’s circulation and advertising have plunged over the past decade, as pictures of naked women became readily available on the internet and the company struggled to adjust its business model.

Still, the sale of the declining media property has sparked a lot of interest, and it’s not the only one. The recent sale of Newsweek also drew lots of attention despite the fact that the newsweekly has been losing money.


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