In Play­boy bid­ding war, owner of Pent­house tops Hefner of­fer

Austin American-Statesman - - BUSINESS - Com­piled from staff and wire re­ports

FriendFin­der Net­works Inc., the owner of the Pent­house adult en­ter­tain­ment fran­chise, has made a pro­posal to ac­quire ri­val Play­boy En­ter­prises Inc. in a deal that FriendFin­der val­ued at $210 mil­lion. The move coun­ters a bid made this week by Play­boy founder Hugh Hefner to take pri­vate the com­pany he founded in 1953 in a deal that would value Play­boy at $185 mil­lion, or $5.50 a share.

In a let­ter to Play­boy’s board of di­rec­tors, FriendFin­der CEO Marc Bell didn’t pro­vide any specifics about his pro­posal but made it clear he wanted to work with Hefner, not against him. Bell didn’t say so ex­plic­itly, but his aim ap­par­ently would be to dis­lodge the part­ner Hefner al­ready has: pri­vate eq­uity firm Rizvi Tra­verse Man­age­ment LLC, which Hefner said is ar­rang­ing the fi­nanc­ing for his of­fer to buy the Play­boy shares he doesn’t al­ready own.

“It re­ally comes down to what Hefner wants,” Bell said. “He can cash out, or he can stay. We would love him to stay.”

Hugh Hefner

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