Is Hef Still Playboy's Big Boss?

The Playboy founder's stake in the company is 'honorary'

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    CENTURY CITY, CA - OCTOBER 17: Hugh Hefner arrives at the launch of City Nights Playboy Menswear Collection at Bloomingdales on October 17, 2007 in Century City, California. (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

    A month after Playboy Enterprises agreed to a buyout by founder Hugh Hefner, it's becoming clear that Hef's not the company's controlling partner after all.

    In January, 84-year-old Hefner made a $207 million offer to privatize the company, beating out his own previous offer and an offer from a group representing Penthouse magazine.

    Hefner, reportedly the largest shareholder of Playboy, said last month that the agreement made sense for a magazine that's been struggling with competition from the Web and a 7 percent fall in revenue in November. "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," he said.

    Turns out, Hefner's estimated 37 percent stake in the company technically makes him a minority partner. Forbes reports that 60 percent is owned by the private equity firm that stood by Hefner during the buyout.

    Playboy  wouldn't comment to Forbes on how Hef can remain the controlling partner when his numbers aren't on top.

    Sources said that Hef's control of the company is "honorary."

    Under Hefner's contract, he still has editorial control over the magazine and rights to live in the Playboy Mansion, Forbes reports.