Bunny Ears Up on Talks of Sale

By BJ Lutz
|  Friday, Nov 13, 2009  |  Updated 3:15 PM CDT
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Playboy's Rock Star Brunch

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You might see these ladies a lot less in the near future.

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Playboy's shares are pitching a stock market tent.

On rumors of an impending sale, Playboy's shares were up 6.6 percent at $4.34 in Friday's trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The stock rose 41 percent on Thursday, good news for the Chicago-based company whose previous value has been anything but sexy.

At least two groups are rumored to be in talks with the company.

One, Iconix Brand Group, reportedly wants to bring in a publishing partner for the magazine while maintaining the licensing portion of the company.

Iconix licenses brands such as Joe Boxer, Candies, Rocawear, Danskin and London Fog. The company specializes in buying under-leveraged brands and exploiting them through licensing, the National Post reported, citing a note from an RBC Capital Markets analyst.

Another interested party may be Jim Griffiths, a former entertainment president at the company, and private equity firm Golden Gate Capitol.

A Friday report by Reuters put the Playboy price as high as $300 million.

In addition to the magazine, Playboy owns the Playboy and Spice television channels, the Playboy Club in Las Vegas, and the iconic "bunny ears" logo.

The company has been looking for a buyer for months, even before the June appointment of Scott Flanders as the company's new CEO.  He replaced Christie Hefner, the daughter of the magazine's founder, Hugh Hefner.

The 83-year-old Hugh Hefner handed the company over to his daughter in 1988, but still maintains about 70 percent of the voting rights in the company.  He would have to approve any sale.

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