Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Hugh Hefner to buy back Playboy

By The Star

CHICAGO: Playboy Enterprises Inc. said Tuesday its board of directors has formed a special committee to consider founder Hugh Hefner's proposal to buy out the rest of the company.

The committee will consist of attorney Sol Rosenthal, who will serve as its chairman, and Playboy director Shing Tao. Rosenthal is a counsel at international law firm Arnold & Porter, while Tao is chairman and chief investment officer of Pacific Star Partners, a private investment group.

Hefner offered on July 9 to buy the roughly 30 percent of Playboy's outstanding shares that he doesn't already own for $5.50 each, and take the company private in a deal valuing Playboy at $185 million. A few days later, Penthouse magazine owner FriendFinder Networks Inc. made a formal, competing bid for the Playboy empire worth $210 million, but any such deal would require Hefner to agree to sell his nearly 70 percent stake.

The company, which is headquartered in Chicago, said Tuesday that no decisions have been made about Hefner's offer, and there's no guarantee any agreement will be reached.

Playboy's stock price has tumbled since hitting a peak in 1999 of more than $32, closing Tuesday up 2 cents at $5.37.

The company's namesake magazine has struggled with competition from the Web, losing readers and advertisers. It has tried to make up for a declining print business by licensing its brand and the iconic bunny ears for consumer products.

It recently released its June edition equipped with 3-D glasses, hoping to capitalize on the popularity of 3-D movies such as "Avatar."

Hefner has said he worries about the editorial direction of the magazine and its legacy. At 84, he still serves as creative director and editor-in-chief. - AP

* I jst commented on my previous post that playboy magazines is losing readers and advertisers and now i came to know that playboy is surviving by its bunny products. Interesting!!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Newsweek magazine sold, editor to step down.

By the Star

NEW YORK: Sidney Harman, the 91-year-old founder of audio equipment maker Harman International Industries Inc., has agreed to buy Newsweek, ending a nearly half-century chapter for the magazine as part of The Washington Post Co.

Jon Meacham, the magazine's top editor since 2006, will step down.

Newsweek has been struggling to find a profitable niche amid poor economic conditions and a flood of online competition. Declines in circulation and advertising led to a nearly $30 million loss in 2009, and Newsweek expects to lose money again this year.

In an interview, Harman declined to discuss exactly how he will finance the magazine's operations. But he said he will give Newsweek some breathing room for a turnaround effort.

"My purpose is to get the magazine operating in a reasonable amount of time - and that's years, not weeks - on its own fuel," he said.

Harman has pledged to keep most of the magazine's staff, currently at about 350. He also said he doesn't envision any radical overhaul of the magazine, which was redesigned last year with a greater focus on long-form reporting and analysis to compete more directly with titles such as The New Yorker and The Economist.

"I bring intellectual curiosity and serious business experience to a place that could be done no harm from the first and a great deal of good from the second," he said.

Harman said he hasn't decided on a replacement for Meacham as editor.

Financial terms were not disclosed, although the Post Co. said it is keeping the magazine's pension liabilities and certain other, unspecified employee obligations.

With the print industry in decline, the Post Co. likely sold Newsweek at a fire-sale price.

Bloomberg LP bought BusinessWeek last year for just a few million dollars.

"In seeking a buyer for Newsweek, we wanted someone who feels as strongly as we do about the importance of quality journalism," Post Co. CEO Donald Graham said.

"We found that person in Sidney Harman." Graham added, "He has pledged not only to continue to produce a lively, compelling and first-rate news magazine, but also an equally dynamic"

The Post Co., which acquired Newsweek in 1961, has been looking for a buyer since May, when it hired the investment bank Allen & Co. to help shop the magazine to potential bidders.

Despite continuing losses, Newsweek drew several offers, including ones from Newsmax Media, the publisher of the conservative monthly Newsmax; Open Gate Capital, the private equity firm that owns TV Guide magazine; and Thane Ritchie, a hedge fund manager who made an unsuccessful bid last year for the company that publishes the Chicago Sun-Times.

The winning bidder founded Harman International Industries in 1953. Today, the company brings in nearly $3 billion in annual revenue selling equipment under brands including JBL, Infinity, Harman Kardon and Mark Levinson.

Its audio products are used in such auto brands as Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz, BMW AG and Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus.

Though he retired from the company in 2008, Harman still holds a number of titles at philanthropic and cultural institutions, including the Aspen Institute and Freedom House.

He is the husband of California Democratic Rep. Jane Harman, who is chairwoman of the House Homeland Security subcommittee on intelligence. - AP

* We yet see another magazine buyout. Online ads is gradually or should i put it rapidly taking over conventional ads on magazine, newspaper, flyers, etc. This makes conventional magazine company going down with less advert opportunities. A very good example would be playboy magazine, it was a hit on it heydays and when online porn come into place, the once mighty playboy yet have to go down. Btw, Harman/Kardon is a good product, but my Toshiba laptop embeded with Harman/Kardon speaker has broken on one side. SAD