Playboy’s parent is going back to its roots as a private company. Playboy Enterprises entered a definitive agreement with founder Hugh Hefner to take the company private.
The agreement calls for Icon Acquisition Holdings, a limited partnership Hefner controls, with private equity backing, to buy back the company’s outstanding shares for $6.15 a share, an 18.3 percent premium over the Jan. 7 closing price.
The octogenarian Hefner offered during the summer to buy back the company after no other serious bids emerged. Playboy, like most publishers, has struggled in the recession.
“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,” Hefner said in a statement on the deal, which was unanimously approved by Playboy Enterprises’s board.
Going private will bring at least one benefit. “The cost of being public today is about $5 million,” said Reed Phillips, managing partner of media investment bank DeSilva & Phillips.
“It would give Hefner more control to do what he wants to do, including pass it on to his heirs,” Phillips added.
Scott Flanders will keep his job as CEO and a significant equity investment in the company. The company’s outsourcing deal with American Media Inc. to handle the business-side operations of Playboy magazine will remain in force, according to AMI.