Playboy Merges Online, Print Divisions

CHICAGO - Playboy Enterprises is merging its online and print divisions, shutting down its New York magazine office and moving staff to the company's home base of Chicago.

Playboy announced this week that it will take a massive business "write-down," reducing its Wall Street book value by more than $100 million. Expecting a net loss for the fourth quarter, the company plans $4 million in cost reductions that will include an undisclosed number of job cuts.

This news follows last month's announcement of CEO Christie Hefner's departure and the appointment of temporary replacement Jerome Kern to Playboy's board of directors. reports the cost-cutting measures have been under consideration for years, especially the move out of the company's high-cost digs in Manhattan.

Former Maxim editor Jimmy Jellinek will manage Playboy's Chicago staff as editorial director, while longtime Playboy magazine editor Christopher Napolitano will remain in New York as an editor-at-large. 

Jellinek joined Playboy in August as senior VP of digital media, overseeing the development of The revamped version of the company's flagship website will launch within the next few weeks, integrating a social networking component and other new features.

Playboy stock closed Thursday at $1.50 per share, down from a 52-week high of $9.13. The company is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings Feb. 18.