Golden Gate in talks to buy Playboy Enterprises

Playboy Enterprises Inc. is in talks with Jim Griffiths, a former entertainment president at Playboy, and private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, to sell itself for about $300 million, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Playboy declined to comment. Golden Gate Capital, which is in joint talks with Griffiths, were not immediately available for comment.

The company is also in separate talks with Iconix Brand Group to sell itself, sources told Reuters.

Iconix, which owns and licenses such clothing brands as Candies, Joe Boxer and Rocawear, wants to bring in a publishing partner to buy Playboy magazine while it would keep the licensing part of the company, says one of the sources.

At this point, the talks with Griffiths and Golden Gate are separate from those with Iconix, the source says.

Shares of Playboy (NYSE: PLA) rose 41% on Nov. 12, following initial news of the talks with Iconix. Based on its closing price as of Nov. 12, the company had a market cap of about $116 million.

In addition to its well-known adult magazine, Playboy also has TV operations and a licensing business based on its “bunny ears” logo.

Golden Gate owns investments across several sectors, including media, transportation and health care.

Playboy magazine’s sales have suffered in recent years as more people get adult entertainment on the Internet, and as advertising sales have fallen at most U.S. magazines and newspapers.

Before the stock jumped on Thursday, Playboy shares had lost about 75% of their value over the past two years.

The company has been looking for a buyer for months, even before the appointment of a new CEO in June, when Scott Flanders replaced Christie Hefner, the daughter of the magazine’s founder Hugh Hefner. —Jui Chakravorty, Reuters