Playboy Agrees to Go Private

(Playboy article updated with stock price information and comments from the company's board of directors.)

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Playboy ( PLA) has agreed to Hugh Hefner's offer to take the company private for $6.15 per share.

The Playboy magazine publisher announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Icon Acquisition Holdings, a limited partnership controlled by Hefner, to buy the company's shares for $6.15 a piece, which represents a 18.3% premium over Friday's closing price of $5.20.

The bid comes in above Hefner's proposal to acquire all outstanding shares at a purchase price of $5.50 a share in July, 2010.

Hefner, who founded Playboy Enterprises in 1957, currently owns 69.5% of the company's Class A stock and 27.7% of Class B stock.

"With the completion of this transaction, Playboy will come full circle, returning to its roots as a private company. The brand resonates today as clearly as at any time in its 57-year history," Hefner said in a statement. "I believe this agreement will give us the resources and flexibility to return Playboy to its unique position and to further expand our business around the world."

Hefner indicated that he wasn't interested in selling Playboy to a third party when he made his first bid to take the company private in July.

Playboy CEO Scott Flanders will stay in his current position and plans to maintain a significant equity investment in the company.

"Our strategy is to transform Playboy into a brand management company," Flanders said. "This transaction will advance our efforts by strengthening our balance sheet and streamlining our operations, while creating opportunities to participate in new ventures. I am excited about the future, and I look forward to working with our new partners as we guide Playboy into the next era."

On Sunday night, Playboy's board of directors and a special board committee determined that going private is in the company's best interest.

"The special committee and the board have determined that the transaction is advisable, fair to and in the best interests of the company's public stockholders," special committee chairman Sol Rosenthal said.

Playboy's board had also been considering a bid made by FriendFinder Networks, the company that publishes Penthouse magazine. FriendFinder offered $210 million for Playboy in July.

The agreement values the company at nearly $207 million. Playboy shares are surging 17%, or 89 cents, to $6.09.

-- Written by Theresa McCabe in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Theresa McCabe.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to @TheresaMcCabe.

Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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