Report: Playboy in talks to be sold, shares jump

AP News
Posted: Nov 12, 2009 6:10 PM

Shares of Playboy Enterprises Inc. soared Thursday on a report that the men's magazine publisher is in talks to sell its business to Iconix Brand Group Inc.

The stock rose by as much as 66 percent during the day and closed up $1.21, or 43 percent, at $4.07. Iconix shares fell 39 cents, or 3.2 percent, to finish at $11.76.

Playboy, based in Chicago, and Iconix declined to comment.

A news report by Bloomberg said Iconix has examined Playboy's finances, but there's no guarantee of a deal, citing people close to the situation.

Iconix, based in New York, owns brands that it licenses to manufacturers, such as Candie's and London Fog.

Iconix CEO Neil Cole has been looking for more brands to acquire, while Playboy has been looking for a buyer since Scott Flanders became CEO in June, replacing long-time head Christie Hefner, the daughter of Hugh Hefner.

In the third quarter, Playboy's ad revenue fell 44 percent to $9.45 million, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Circulation declined 9 percent to 2.45 million in the first six months of the year, the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported.