January 10, 2011, 4:10 PM

Playboy seals a $207 million deal with Hef

Playboy has accepted an offer from founder Hugh Hefner and will go private.

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After mulling over the deal since last summer, Playboy Enterprises Inc. has accepted an offer from an investment group headed by company founder Hugh Hefner and will go private.

Under the terms of the deal, valued at about $207 million, Icon Acquisition Holdings LP, a limited partnership controlled by Hugh M. Hefner, will acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock for $6.15 per share.

The deal is expected to close by March 30. “With the completion of this transaction, Playboy will come full circle, returning to its roots as a private company,” says Hefner. “The brand resonates today as clearly as at any time in its 57-year history. I believe this agreement will give us the resources and flexibility to return Playboy to its unique position and to further expand our business around the world."

CEO Scott Flanders will remain with the company in his current capacity, Playboy says. Going forward Playboy, No. 268 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide will seek to grow revenue by leveraging its brand, says Flanders. "Our strategy is to transform Playboy into a brand management company," Flanders says. "This transaction will advance our efforts by strengthening our balance sheet and streamlining our operations, while creating opportunities to participate in new ventures.”

Playboy, which has struggled financially the past two years, had pondered Hefner’s bid and another $210 million offer from FriendFinder Networks Inc., publisher or rival Penthouse magazine, since July.

 Through the first nine months of fiscal 2010 ended Sept. 30, Playboy reported:

  • E-commerce sales were $25 million, a 10.1% decline from $27.8 million in the prior year.
  • Total sales were $160.2 million, down by 10.9% from $179.8 million in the first three quarters of 2009.
  • Net loss was $19.8 million, compared to a net loss of $17.3 million in the same period last year.
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