Hefner Says Playboy Offer in Holders' Best Interest

Playboy Enterprises Inc. founder Hugh Hefner, facing a potential takeover battle for the publisher against the owner of Penthouse magazine, said his offer for the company is in shareholders’ best interest.

“I am excited about the prospect of Playboy returning to private ownership which will reinvigorate the company and create a lasting legacy for the Playboy brand,” Hefner, 84, said today in a statement.

Penthouse’s owner FriendFinder Networks Inc. said it will probably submit a bid today, following Hefner’s $123 million offer. Playboy said yesterday that Hefner wants to take the company private, and offered to purchase the shares he doesn’t already own in Playboy, which includes the namesake men’s magazine, merchandise, and television and video content.

Hefner plans to offer $5.50 apiece in cash for the Class A and Class B shares. Hefner is partnering with Rizvi Traverse Management LLC for the transaction. The offer, at a premium of more than 30 percent, values Chicago-based Playboy at about $185 million.

“I believe my proposal, which was delivered to the Playboy Board on July 8, 2010, is in the best interest of the Company and its minority shareholders and I look forward to continuing discussions with the Board,” Hefner said in today’s statement.

Playboy B shares fell 18 cents to $5.37 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading after jumping 41 percent yesterday. The A shares declined 12 cents to $5.42 after climbing 36 percent yesterday.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brett Pulley in New York at bpulley@bloomberg.net

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