Playboy Board Member Resigns; Stocks Rise on Acquisition Bids

CHICAGO—Playboy Enterprises Inc. announced Friday that board member Russ Pillar has resigned due to his inability to devote enough time to board duties.

"Mr. Pillar noted in his resignation that he is no longer able to make the time commitment he believes is needed to adequately serve the company's interests," the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The announcement also stated that Pillar's resignation is not the result of any disagreement with the company.

Pillar is a former senior executive at Viacom Inc. and Richard Branson's Virgin Entertainment Group, and currently is managing director of The 5850 Group, an investor in consumer branded media-based businesses. He also is president of the Los Angeles Marathon.

Buoyed by the news that a bidding war for the company may be in the works, shares of Playboy stock rose dramatically yesterday, shooting up 42 percent in New York Stock Exchange midday trading.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner on Monday announced his intention to purchase all outstanding stock and take the company private in a deal worth $185 million. On Thursday, dating behemoth FriendFinder Networks announced a purchase offer of $210 million, besting Hefner’s deal by 13 percent.

In a letter to the Playboy board, FriendFinder chief executive Marc Bell suggested a July 21 meeting to discuss the offer. No word yet on whether that meeting will take place.