First Round: Private equity's Playboy relationship

If you are a 90-year-old publisher of adult magazines and your most famous title starts to flag, what can you do to shore up the finances?

One possibility is to sell your house, or your Playboy Mansion to be precise.

And who better to sell it to than the man next door? First Round has heard Hugh Hefner’s long-time home was sold for an undisclosed amount – though the house was marketed at $200 million – to Daren Metropoulos, a principal at private equity firm Metropoulos & Co. and the son of firm founder and private equity giant Dean Metropoulos. The younger Metropoulos, along with Apollo Global Management, owns Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies, among other assets.

Metropoulos purchased his current Beverly Hills home, a 20,000-square foot house next to the Playboy Mansion property, from Hefner in 2009 for $18 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. The private equity scion now plans to combine the two properties, but sale conditions state that Hefner can continue to live in the Playboy Mansion as long as he lives.

This is not the first time Playboy has been connected to private equity. In 2011, it was taken private by Hugh Hefner and private equity firm Rizvi Traverse Management, in a deal that included the magazine and the mansion. The firm also owns stakes in Twitter and Snapchat.

Earlier this year, there were reports about Rizvi and Hefner trying to sell Playboy, which with the mansion could have fetched up to $500 million.

Metropoulos’ fortune, built on private equity, has secured the future of the Playboy Mansion. We’ll have to see which industry tycoon scoops up the magazine, no doubt for the articles.