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Hugh Hefner makes private offer to Playboy shareholders

Ancient grumble mag publisher fights the internet

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Hugh Hefner, 84-year old founder of Playboy wants to buy back the company and take it private, with a bit of help from the bank.

Actually Hefner said he's got backing from Rizvi Traverse to buy back the group for £120m. The investment group is "highly confident ample financial resources will be available to complete the transaction."

He's offering $5.50 for every share he doesn't already own. Hefner owns 69.5 per cent of Class A stock and 27.7 per cent of Class B stock.

Hefner has written to the board of Playboy Enterprises, Inc to share his concerns about the editorial direction of the magazine, the brand and, we are told, the "legacy".

The company is made up of the entertainment group which deals with the TV, radio and film products. The print digital group deals with the US and international editions of the grumble mag as well as playboy.com. Finally the licensing group punts Playboy logos to assorted nasty tracksuit and pencil case manufacturers.

The Hef has been knocking out magazines since late 1953. It claims 1.5m subscribers in the US.

But he might face a battle from old enemy Penthouse - for so long the two were the yin and yang of dead tree-based titillation. The arch rival to Playboy bought Adult Friend Finder for $500m back in 2007 - evidence of its more aggressive approach to new technology - and is said to be working on its own offering.

In contrast Playboy did offer the waiting world its first 3D centrefold in March. ®

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