Hugh Hefner plans to take Playboy private

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is offering to buy the remaining shares of the iconic adult entertainment group in a deal that values the business at some $185 million (£123m).

The move would take the firm private and comes as Playboy Enterprises struggles to turn around its business, amid falling advertising revenues and a decline in readership at its flagship magazine.

In his proposal to the group's board of directors, Hefner said he had no plans to sell his shares or the company and also rebuffed any suggestion that there should be a merger between Playboy and other potential suitors.

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Hefner, who founded Playboy in 1953 and turned the publication and its scantily-clad models into a cultural mainstay, already owns about 69.5 per cent of Playboy's main shares and 27.7 per cent of its "Class B" stock.

Playboy said Hefner is partnering with Rizvi Traverse Management, which has said it will raise financing for the transaction from major lenders. The group has been trying to capitalise on its famous bunny ears logo by signing licensing deals with clothing makers, casinos and clubs.