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Hugh Hefner may sell Playboy empire

entertainment Updated: May 27, 2009 12:45 IST

ANI
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Hugh Hefner is planning to sell Playboy for some 200 million pounds, it has emerged.

The 83-year-old founded the empire more than 56 years ago and gained instant popularity.

However, the rise of the internet, and with it free pornography, has taken its toll on the magazines' sales.

According to reports, Sir Richard Branson's firm Virgin is being tipped as a potential buyer, The Telegraph reported.

Playboy sales have dropped from seven million an issue in 1972 to around three million now.

Also, earlier this month, it was announced that the company had suffered losses of 8.6 million pounds for the first three months of the year compared to 2.6 million pounds in the same period last year.

A Playboy spokesman denied that it had received any offers.

However, he added that as a public company, Playboy would "listen to proposals that could create value for all of our shareholders".