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Is Hef killing Playboy?
Is Playboy-in-chief Hugh Hefner sacrificing his business empire for busty blondes and bling?
 
Hugh Hefner, with girlfriend Holly Madison: Pleasure over business?
Hugh Hefner, with girlfriend Holly Madison: Pleasure over business?
(Kenneth Johansson/Corbis)

According to a lawsuit filed by Playboy Enterprises shareholders, Hugh Hefner, 83, cares more about his decadent lifestyle (think, celebrity-studded pajama parties and group frolics in the Grotto) than he does about the company's well-being. Hefner owns 70 percent of Playboy Class A stock — the only kind that carries voting rights — and has repeatedly dismissed takeover offers even as company stock has tanked. The plaintiffs point out that Playboy owns Hefner's iconic mansion, which means he'd have to find a new playground were he to sell. Is a defiantly hedonistic Hef running his media empire into the ground?

Hef is isn't the only problem: Playboy's shareholders really are getting screwed, but tough times in the media business are probably a factor, too, says TMZ. Playboy sold for $36 a share in 1999, but now goes for around $3.15 a share — that's half the price of a copy of Playboy, which "sells for $5.99...because of the articles."
"Hugh Hefner accused of screwing Playboy"


The investors should accept some responsibiity themselves: The substance of the allegations is "basically true," says Zac Bissonnette in BloggingStocks. But it's not the court's duty to bail out investors who are too lazy or financially illiterate to see that "Playboy is an absolute toilet bowl of corporate governance," with the deck heavily tilted toward Hefner and his "cadre of greedy insiders."
"Shareholder slams Playboy with lawsuit over Hugh Hefner"

Why wouldn't Hef live this way? "The wild card here is Hugh Hefner," according to an investment company analysis, as quoted in The Daily News. But he's not likely to change. "If you were Hugh Hefner...would you give up the parade of busty blondes, the fancy mansion, and the reality TV show for a payout?"
"Playboy shareholder sues Hugh Hefner over alleged sabotage of deals to sell magazine"

 

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