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Is Hugh Hefner Really The Top Dog At Playboy?

After it was reported in January that Playboy founder Hugh Hefner was taking control of Playboy Enterprises Inc., it appeared as though Hef was calling the shots and all was right in the bunny universe.  According to Jeff Bercovici of Forbes however, Hefner is really more of a figurehead whose title as owner is more honorary than it is rooted in any real controlling power.  Hefner is actually the junior partner of Icon Acquisition Holding LP and — by Moody’s Investors Service estimations — holds a 37 percent stake in the company.

A controlling 60 percent share of the venture is owned by Rizvi Traverse Management, the private equity firm involved in the Playboy buyout.  The remaining 3 percent belongs to Playboy CEO Scott Flanders.  While the numbers indicate that Hef is a minority partner, he still carries plenty of the perks of ownership including a $1 million annual salary, editorial control of Playboy, and continued lodging in the Playboy mansion for a small fee.

His contract (and all the above conditions) will renew automatically after five years and also entitles Hefner with the arduous task of “approv[ing] the overall image, costume, and promotional outfits used by Playboy bunnies.”  Hef also will oversee Playboy’s casinos and creative endeavors including the reality T.V. show The Girls Next Door.

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