The Wall Street Journal is reporting the legendary men’s magazine will be up for sale. WSJ cites sources “Familiar with the situation.”
In a move to keep the magazine afloat, founder and original publisher Hugh M. Hefner brought in a new management team in 2011, and took the company from being a publicly traded company to being privately held, in partnership with private equity firm Rizvi Traverse. They have struggled a bit since, but the company has reduced its staff from over 500 to 165 and shed many of its properties through licensing agreements.
The March 2016 issue saw the magazine go from featuring nude Playmates and other models to having clothed and implied nudity for the first time, a huge philosophical and cultural shift that ticked off many of the magazine’s oldest fans and subscribers, but made it more viable for advertisers. CEO Scott Flanders, who was part of the new management team that came to the company in 2011, said he understands the magazine will lose some of it’s older customers, but he’s going after millennials, young men who live in cities; men with jobs.
Much of its revenue is derived from licensing. The parent company, Playboy Enterprises, Inc, has licensed many of its properties to other companies. All of the foreign editions are licenced, as are the clothing and jewelry lines.
Gone are the Cyber Club, Playboy’s former nude website that featured daily updates, as are Playboy TV and radio. all of that is licensed to Mindgeek, formerly known as Manwin. Most of the clubs are gone, including the Playboy Club-Casino in the Palms Hotel-Casino in Las Vegas. The company is stripped down (pardon the pun) and now only publishes ten issues of the magazine per year; January and February being combined, as well as July and August.
Late last year the company put the Playboy Mansion on sale, with the stipulation that Mr. Hefner and his wife could continue to live there until the 89-year old scion passes on. As of 2005 you could buy tickets to some of the famed Playboy Mansion parties, which used to be some of the most exclusive, A-list shindigs in the Hollywood circuit. So far there has been no reported interest in the property, which was listed with an asking price of $200 million.
According to the WSJ report, the investment bank Moelis & Co. is advising Playboy in the sale and some people speculate the company could net the sellers about $500 million.
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