Inside these posts: Magazines

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McDonald’s ranks last in Consumer Reports

A McDonald's double cheeseburger. (Kevin Pang/Tribune)

Oak Brook-based McDonald’s Corp. came in last in a new Consumer Reports rating of fast-food burgers, the magazine said Friday.

Burger King and Wendy’s fared a little better, but the top honors went to smaller regional chains like California’s In-N-Out Burger and Virginia-based Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which has several locations in Chicago. Get the full story »

Playboy forms committee to weigh Hefner bid

Playboy Enterprises Inc. said Tuesday its board of directors has formed a special committee to consider founder Hugh Hefner’s proposal to buy out the rest of the company.

The committee will consist of attorney Sol Rosenthal, who will serve as its chairman, and Playboy director Shing Tao. Rosenthal is a counsel at international law firm Arnold & Porter, while Tao is chairman and chief investment officer of Pacific Star Partners, a private investment group. Get the full story »

Playboy launches ’safe-for-work’ site

Looking to expand viewership among those who might court a lawsuit if they fired up the regular site at work, Playboy Enterprises Inc. today announced something called, which the company bills as a “new safe-for-work men’s entertainment destination that provides guys with smart and sexy distractions throughout the day.”

Safe for work means no nudity, but plenty of Playboy-style hormonal prurience. One of the lead stories on the site: “How to Get Laid at Work.” Another: “7 Signs That You’ve given Up on Getting Laid.” Playboy founder Hugh Hefner greets viewers to the site in a weird little 21-second video of him sitting on a couch in, yes, his trademark smoking jacket.

“Next to the mansion it’s the best hang out on the planet,” Hefner says of the new site. Get the full story »

Penthouse parent outbids Hefner for Playboy

Hugh Hefner at his home in California in May. (L.A. Times)

FriendFinder Networks Inc., the owner of the Penthouse adult entertainment franchise, announced today it has made a proposal to acquire rival Playboy Enterprises Inc. that the Florida company valued at $210 million.

The move counters a bid made earlier this week by Hugh Hefner to take the company he founded in 1953 private in a deal that would value Playboy at $185 million, or $5.50 a share. Get the full story »

Johnson Publishing president steps down

From Crain’s Chicago Business | Anne Sempowski Ward, president and chief operating officer of Johnson Publishing Co., publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, is stepping down. The move has prompted speculation that former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers, recently named a consultant to Johnson Publishing, may be in line for the job.

Hugh Hefner, Penthouse pursue Playboy

Hugh Hefner Playboy Club Chicago

Hugh Hefner with a dozen Playboy Bunnies at the original Chicago Playboy Club in 1960. (Playboy)

Shares in Playboy Enterprises Inc. surged nearly 35 percent this morning after its board of directors said it received a proposal from Hugh Hefner to acquire all of the outstanding shares of the struggling media company for $5.50 per share in cash.

Hefner, 84, currently owns 69.5 percent of Playboy’s Class A common stock and 27.7 percent of  its Class B common stock, and has teamed with a Michigan private equity firm called Rizvi Traverse Management LLC to fund the bid for the shares he doesn’t own.

The Hefner bid values Playboy at $185 million but could spark an auction for the company. Marc Bell, chief executive of FriendFinder Networks Inc., which owns the rival Penthouse adult franchise, said he is readying a competing bid for Playboy. Get the full story »

Playboy kills Portuguese edition over Jesus photos

From Gawker | Playboy Enterprises said it is shutting down Playboy Portugal after a cover and pictorial, offered as a tribute to Nobel Prize-winning author Jose Saramago and his novel “The Gospel According to Jesus Christ,” depicted Jesus Christ with naked women.

“We did not see or approve the cover and pictorial in the July issue of Playboy Portugal. It is a shocking breach of our standards, and we would not have allowed it to be published if we had seen it in advance,” said Theresa Hennessy, Playboy Enterprises’ vice president of public relations.

Playboy cuts corporate controller post

Playboy Enterprises Inc. said its recently announced round of layoffs include the elimination of the job held by Michael S. Dannhauser, who had served as senior vice president and corporate controller.

Playboy cuts jobs to save $3M a year

Playboy CEO Scott Flanders in his Chicago office. (Tribune file photo)

Playboy Enterprises said it is cutting staff in an effort to save more than $3 million annually as it transitions from a media company into one that primarily licenses the Playboy brand.

The company declined to say Tuesday how many employees are affected by the move.

At the end of March, Playboy employed 573 people in its Los Angeles and Chicago offices, down from 651 a year ago. Get the full story »

Playboy sues Drake over song sample

From | Playboy Enterprises is suing rapper Drake, alleging that the beginning of his song “Best I Ever Had” was taken from “Fallin’ In Love,” by Hamilton, Joe Frank and Dennison/Reynolds, which it owns.

Rolling Stone late to post Gen. McChrystal piece

(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

From The New York Times | The explosive Rolling Stone article on Gen. Stanley McChrystal was not published on the magazine’s website,, until 11 a.m. on Tuesday — and by that point, Politico and the Web site of Time magazine had posted PDF files of the article on their own websites before Rolling Stone could get its own article up. Rolling Stone then asked them to remove the PDFs. Will Dana, the magazine’s managing editor, said that the magazine did not always post articles online because it could make more money at the newsstand and that when it did, the articles were typically not posted until Wednesday. But other news organizations made that decision for him.

Iconix backs out on Playboy licensing deal

Iconix Brand Group Inc is no longer looking at a potential licensing deal with Playboy Enterprises Incand does not expect to revisit any deal in the near future, Iconix said. Get the full story »