Penthouse brings magazine, trademarked assets back home

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By Doug Zanger | Americas Editor

February 22, 2016 | 2 min read

In a move, philosophically counter to Playboy, newly-formed company Penthouse Global Media Inc. (PGMI) has acquired the Penthouse brand, and all licensed assets from FriendFinder Network (FFN), an Internet-based social network, best known for its hook-up, dating and adult sites such as AdultFriendFinder.com.

While Playboy has become more demure in its approach to being more in line with today’s culture and sensibilities, especially with millennials, PGMI, led by Kelly Holland (also known as Toni English), a veteran pornographic film director, is obviously defiant in its position and offered a mildly veiled shot across the bow.

“While we plan to rollout a completely redesigned and reimagined global digital platform, we remain deeply committed to the 50+-year legacy of our print magazine," said Holland. "Penthouse will continue to offer print readers the perfect mix of luxury lifestyle, cutting edge journalism and the hottest women in the world — nude — because, as we all know, nudity is not and will never be passé.”

This closes a chapter in the up and down, mostly down, history of the merger (Penthouse Media Group purchased FFN parent, Various, Inc. for $500m in 2007), with FFN filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2013, after being delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange for failing to trade for more than $1. The company went public in 2011, yet only raised less than $50m which the CEO attributed to investors being “prudish.”

The company also endured a data hack of Adult Friend Finder in 2015, where the email addresses, usernames, dates of birth, postal codes, sexual orientation, gender, race and computer IP address of close 4m was put online via the Tor network. The same hacker is apparently responsible for the recent Turkish police server data dump.

As for the future, Holland, in an apparent swipe at FFN, implied that the plastic-wrapped magazine isn’t going anywhere, though it appears that digital is getting the most attention for the time being.

"The Penthouse brand has enormous potential and undeveloped possibilities. It’s in the right hands now, and we have the talent and resources to build equity across all of Penthouse's business units, including broadcast, publishing, licensing, and most immediately, digital."

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