FriendFinder CEO Says Playboy Never Was in Running to Buy Various Inc.

CHICAGO — Rumors that Playboy was looking to buy Various Inc., the then-parent of FriendFinder, two years ago are false, according to FriendFinder’s CEO., a New York-based news site owned by U.K.-based media company Guardian News and Media Ltd., reported Wednesday that Playboy was ready to purchase the FriendFinder properties before Penthouse Media Group purchased it for $500 million in December 2007.

Penthouse later changed its name to FriendFinder, and the company is still in a quiet period before it launches an announced initial public offering.

According to the article, PaidContent said that Playboy didn’t have the wherewithal to purchase Various. The news site said that it confirmed the story with “multiple sources.”

“The talks didn’t become too serious after Playboy realized its market cap was nowhere near where it could afford to buy a big cash generating machine like Friendfinder, whose adult-related dating sites has been its cash cow for most part,” the article said.

But FriendFinder CEO Marc Bell told XBIZ that the rumor is just that.

“I have no idea where they got that information,” he said. “To be honest, Playboy wasn’t one of the bidders. There were five funds in contention, and we were the ones who purchased the company.”

Playboy’s Theresa Hennessey told XBIZ that the company doesn’t comment on rumors.