In a move intended to counteract the many challenges of competing in an industry roiling with free adult content, Playboy is back to being what it started as: the private property of Hugh Hefner. Fifty-eight years after the company was founded, Hef—either admirably financially savvy at 84, or propped tremblingly upright by a team of business experts and Viagra bottles—has finalized a deal to take Playboy Enterprises private in a $207 million transaction.
Hefner said he was pleased with the transaction, claiming the agreement would give him "the resources and flexibility to return Playboy to its unique position and to further expand our business around the world."
Playboy went public in 1971 after a period of rapid expansion, but has struggled in recent years with decreasing circulation and advertising revenue. The magazine's circulation dropped by almost a third in the first half of 2010, while the new chief executive Scott Flanders—who replaced Hefner's daughter Christie after she resigned—scrambled to implement drastic cost cuts to appease shareholders.
What's the reason behind the decline in subscriptions? Internet porn, that's what. Why, you could almost say Playboy's been facing some rather ... stiff competition lately.
*whips off sunglasses as CSI Miami scream plays in background*
Seems like a smart business move by Hef & Co., and I'm sure this means we'll be seeing even more Playboy-branded reality content. Perhaps a newlyweds show for the May-December lovebirds?
Image via Playboy