Playboy up for sale for $300 million?

The NY Post is reporting that Playboy may be up for sale for $300 million. There is a lot of speculation in this article so who knows how much of it is true but here is the story nonetheless.

FULL STORY FROM THE NY POST – PLAYBOY Enterprises, the far-flung empire founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953, is quietly being shopped around for $300 million, sources tell Media Ink.

But so far, well-heeled suitors that have been approached, like Apollo Capital Partners and Providence Equity Partners, haven’t stepped up.

The battered company’s market capitalization is now around $100 million and nobody has been willing to pay the substantial premium that it would take to persuade Hef to sell.

Sources said the sellers are looking for far more than the company’s market capitalization because that would ensure Hef has enough on hand to maintain his lavish lifestyle.

“Everyone says he’ll never let go, that he’ll take it with him to the grave,” said one source.

The empire’s iconic bunny ears are one of the most identifiable trademarks in the world, but the empire has fallen on hard times as the Internet and video-on-demand have eroded its core brand, the magazine.

Hefner, now 83 years old, said recently that one of his biggest regrets was taking Playboy public.

He still controls about 70 percent of the voting stock, and as of March 31, the second-biggest shareholder was Wells Capital, which held a 10 percent stake. Fidelity is third at 7 percent.

Sources said that James Griffiths, a former president of the entertainment group, has been involved in the potential sale process.

Playboy has been under intense pressure and has been furiously cutting costs. In the most recent quarter, the company said it lost $13.7 million, compared with a loss of $4.2 million a year ago. Revenue eroded to $61.6 million in the quarter from $78.5 million a year ago.

Christie Hefner, Hef’s daughter, stepped down as CEO in January and formally left the board at its annual meeting last week, severing her ties.

A Playboy spokeswoman said, “We have not received a proposal for purchase, nor has Mr. Hefner indicated that he will listen to proposals regarding a sale. However, as a public company, we will listen to proposals that could create value for all of our shareholders.”

Worth more

In the wake of the folding of Condé Nast Portfolio and the well-chronicled struggles of business magazines like Fortune and Forbes, now would appear to be an inauspicious time to launch a financial magazine.

Yet Sandow Media has relaunched Worth magazine — complete with a cover price of $18.95.

The new magazine is edited by Richard Bradley, an author and one-time executive editor of John F. Kennedy Jr.’s now-defunct George magazine. Bradley joined in April 2008, just as Sandow Media was taking over the magazine from Bill Curtis’s CurtCo.

Patrick Williams, formerly the manager of national financial advertising at Portfolio, is Worth’s publisher.

At the time that Williams left Portfolio in August 2008 for Worth, many thought he was crazy to leave cushy Condé Nast. Less than a year later, he’s been vindicated.

“It turned out to be an astute move obviously, but I didn’t think they were going to close the magazine down,” Williams said in a recent interview with Media Ink.

Meanwhile, Williams defended Sandow Media’s decision to launch Worth during one of the worst economic periods in a generation.

“All of those magazines are aimed at people who are worried about what they are going to do about their 401(k)s,” said Williams. “We are not going to advise people what to do about that.”

But what about that newsstand price of $18.95?

“If you’re the person who is nervous about paying $18.95 for a magazine, then this magazine is not for you,” said Williams.

The recession may have depressed the local real estate market in the Hamptons and thinned the publishing ranks, but surviving publications are gearing up for a busy, if somewhat more frugal, publishing scene.

Dan’s Papers, now owned by Cincinnati, Ohio-based Brown Publishing Co., pulled the plug on Hampton Style for this year, leaving Editor Kristina Ward out of a job.

Meanwhile, Vox magazine has also disappeared from the scene.

But the survivors are still going.

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