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Playboy Hires Peacock Equity’s Paul Lee as managing director for new digital ventures

from – Playboy Enterprises, Inc. on Monday named Paul Lee as managing director of new digital ventures. Effective May 17, Lee will be responsible for launching, acquiring, partnering with, and investing in new digital business opportunities. Lee joins PEI from the Peacock Equity Fund, a joint venture between NBC Universal and GE Capital, where he presently serves as senior vice president.

“Paul’s investment experience and expertise with digital business development make him the perfect choice to oversee our new digital initiatives,” said Scott Stephen, EVP of PEI’s Print/Digital Group.

In the digital realm, priorities for the company remain leveraging its brand, and building new revenue streams.

As such, “The Playboy brand presents many opportunities to create additional revenue streams,” said Lee said. “By combining new digital business models and the iconic nature of the brand, Playboy can significantly expand its digital footprint.”

Playboy Enterprises’ relatively new CEO Scott Flanders is sticking by his promise to affect big changes at the struggling publisher.

Since last May, Playboy has been for sale with an asking price of $300 million — far above its market capitalization. Also late last year, rumor had it that Inconix, a publicly traded brand management company, was kicking Playboy’s tires.

Last November, meanwhile, Playboy agreed to turn over all the magazine’s operations except editorial — to American Media Inc. AMI publishes over a dozen titles, including Star and Men’s Fitness. The five-year partnership was expected to help return Playboy to profitability by the end of 2011.

In recent years, Playboy has experimented with various new media strategies. In 2008, for instance, it launched a Playboy Mobile competition, which invited women 18 years and older to send in sexy, yet clothed, pictures of themselves.

Lee was a founding member of the Peacock Equity Fund in 2007. As a deal partner, he focused on investments in the mobile and gaming sectors. Peacock Equity’s investments include 4INFO, Adify, Bigpoint, Blogher, Greystripe, Healthline, Ramp, and Rubicon Project. Lee also serves on the board of directors in several Peacock Equity investments.


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