Playboy Enterprises Inc. said Monday that Hugh Hefner, the 84-year-old founder of the iconic men’s magazine, has offered to buy all of the outstanding shares in the company to take it private.
Hefner, who launched Playboy in 1953, is teaming up with a private equity company, Rizvi Traverse Management, to purchase the shares for 5.50 dollars per share, Playboy Enterprises said.
Playboy Enterprises, in a statement, said Hefner currently controls 69.5 percent of the company’s Class A common stock and 27.7 percent its Class B common stock.
“Rizvi Traverse is highly confident ample financial resources will be available to complete the transaction,” the statement said.
It said Hefner wanted to retain full control of Playboy out of concern for the brand, the editorial direction of the magazine and “(Playboy’s) legacy.”
“Hefner is not interested in any sale or merger,” it said.
Playboy, known for its curvaceous centerfolds and bunny logo, went public on November 3, 1971 and enjoyed decades of success. It has been struggling in the digital age, however, and was threatened with delisting last year.
Hefner’s daughter, Christie Hefner, stepped down as chairman and chief executive of the adult magazine company last year.
Besides its flagship magazine, the Chicago-based Playboy Enterprises also operates the Playboy and Spice television networks and the Playboy.com website.
Playboy shares soared more than 35 percent to 5.34 dollars in New York on Monday.