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Playboy founder finally regains control of company

Hugh Hefner, founder of iconic consumer brand Playboy, has finally succeeded in his bid to regain control of the company he founded nearly 60 years ago.

Playboy Enterprises Inc announced on 10 January that it has agreed to accept the offer from Icon Acquisition Holdings, a limited partnership controlled by Hefner, to take the company private for a total of $207 million.

In a company statement, Hefner said: "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."

Last June, Hefner made his first bid of $187 million to take Playboy private for the remaining shares he didn't already own. He has control of 70% of the company's Class A voting shares, and 30% of Class B non-voting shares.

In reaction to Hefner's offer, owner of rival magazine Penthouse, Friend Finder Networks, made a higher bid of $210 million soon after. But Hefner's majority voting rights allowed him to reject this offer.  

With this new deal, Hefner has offered to buy the rest of the shares at an 18% premium over the closing price of Class B shares, according to the company statement. The agreement was made for $6.15 per share.

Playboy was founded by Hefner in 1953 and went public in 1971. Scott Flanders, who replaced Hefner's daughter as CEO in January 2009 after her resignation, will stay on in his position.

Playboy has seen its circulation fall from 7 million in the 1970s to around 1.5 million today.

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