Iconic 50’s brand “Playboy” in talks to be sold

Playboy Enterprises Inc., the company that has grown out of the iconic Playboy Magazine founded by Hugh Hefner and first published in 1953, is in advanced talks to be sold, according to press sources. The company and its brand are recognised the world over by its distinctive rabbit in a tuxedo logo, and should the latest deal proceed it will mean the firm has completed a full circle in terms of the M&A life cycle. Hugh Hefner founded the company in 1953 with help from a small loan from his mother and having established it initially as a men’s lifestyle and entertainment magazine, it has grown to be represented in every medium, including its own TV channel and has become a global lifestyle and media company. Hefner capitalised on the more liberal views emerging from the sexual revolution of the 60s by listing the business on the New York Stock Exchange in 1971. The company traded as a listed company for 39 years before finally being taken private and back into the control of the Hefner family in 2011 in a deal which valued the company at around USD 207m and was backed by the private equity firm Rizvi Enterprises.

The rumoured buyers are reported to be Hollywood executives Jeff Sagansky and Harry Sloan, via an acquisition vehicle they launched last year called Double Eagle Acquisition Corporation, and Playboy Enterprises Inc. would be just one of a number of assets belonging to Rizvi that would form part of a deal that press reports are speculating is worth between USD 2bn and USD 3bn in value. In the case of Playboy Enterprises, sources familiar with the company say that it’s the bunny and the brand that it represents which has a higher value than the company itself, further proof that in today’s world intangible assets such as brands, IP etc. can really help increase the absolute value of companies with less tangible assets!