Virgin's Branson Eyeing Playboy?

LONDON – The rumors of the sale of Playboy continues.

Britain's Daily Mail claims that Virgin empire billionaire Richard Branson is a potential buyer for the bunny. Playboy has suffered numerous losses in recent years, despite cost-cutting and staff-slashing efforts.

As reported last week, a source told that there are three groups currently putting together potential offers.

The New York Post suggested a sale of $300 million was in the works, but reported a source as saying, "Everyone says that he [Playboy founder Hugh Hefner] will never let go, that he'll take it to his grave.'

Hefner, 83, still controls 70 per cent of the company. Playboy spokespersons have denied the offers and that Hefner is courting buyers.

The Chicago Tribune reports Playboy interim chair Jerome Kern has said the company would welcome proposals "that would create value for all of our shareholders."

Back in February, reported Kern said that when it came to offers, Playboy was "willing to listen."  Also, company spokeswoman Elizabeth Austin told the New York Times, "We've always been open to discussion" though added at the time that the magazine was not for sale.

Wall Street analysts have noted that based on its market capitalization value,  the company is in no way worth $300 million, though some have argued otherwise. According to PaidContent, the Branson rumor did send the stock up to $3.12 a share Wednesday, a marked increase from last week.