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Penthouse owner offers $210 million for Playboy

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The bidding war between two iconic adult magazines has begun.

FriendFinder Networks, the owner of Penthouse magazine, wants to buy Playboy for $210 million, which works out to about $6.24 per share, the company announced Thursday afternoon.

The bid comes just three days after Playboy's founder and notorious bachelor Hugh Hefner announced he wanted to buy the remaining shares of the iconic bunny brand and take the company private. Hefner already owns 69.5% of Playboy's class A stock and 27.7% of its class B stock.

After he announced he wanted to buy the outstanding shares for $5.50 each on Monday morning, the stock surged 41%. That deal would value Playboy at $185 million. Playboy (PLA) has hovered around that level ever since.

Shares rose 2% to about $5.62 following the news from FriendFinder.

FriendFinder CEO Marc Bell said in a statement Thursday that he looks forward to working with Hefner and other members of Playboy's management, should the two companies be combined.

Playboy's magazine business has struggled to stay profitable amid online competition, as well as a decline in advertising in the traditional media industry as a whole. The company is in the middle of restructuring into one that relies more on licensing out its famous bunny brand.

Even after cost-cutting measures, the company reported a $962,000 loss in the first quarter of the year. A year earlier, it lost $14 million in the same quarter.

Playboy continues to make cuts to streamline its businesses and announced in June that it will take a $3 million restructuring charge in its second quarter. Playboy will announce results for that quarter on August 5.  To top of page

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