Playboy Creates Panel to Explore Hefner's Bid

Rhett Pardon
CHICAGO — Playboy Enterprises Inc. has appointed a special committee that will weigh founder Hugh Hefner's $185 million bid for the adult property's shares.

The panel, consisting of an attorney and an investment banker exec, has been installed to evaluate and determine the company's response to the proposal, which already has stirred some shareholders to the point of litigation.

A recent suit that seeks class-action status, alleges that Hefner and investment banker Rizvi Traverse Management's bid for Playboy at $5.50 a share is too low and that the company would be breaching its shareholder fiduciary duties if the adult giant is sold for $185 million. Hefner's bid is $25 million less than FriendFinder's offer to buy Playboy for $210 million.

The special panel includes Sol Rosenthal, an attorney with the Los Angeles office of Arnold & Porter who also is an arbitrator specializing in entertainment and business matters. It also includes Shing Tao, chairman and chief investment oficer of Pacific Star Partners, a private investment group.

Rosenthal will serve as chairman of the special committee.

On Tuesday, Playboy shares traded at $5.37, down two cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.