Playboy may close down its print magazine in favor of forming profitable partnerships with nightclubs and casinos just months after founder Hugh Hefner's death.
'We want to focus on what we call the "World of Playboy," Ben Kohn, a managing partner at private-equity firm Rizvi Traverse, Playboy's controlling shareholder, told the Wall Street Journal.
Kohn went on to say that Playboy is 'so much larger than a small, legacy print publication'.
Hefner launched Playboy Magazine in 1953, and built one of the world's most recognizable brands.
Just two days after Hefner died in September, talks of the magazine closing began.
At the time it was reported that Rizvi Traverse owns a controlling share of the empire and only promised to publish the magazine while Hefner was still alive.
Rizvi Traverse, which invested $207 million in Playboy Enterprises in 2011, has one year to buy Hefner's 35 per cent stake in the company.
'Hef's contract with Rizvi stated that they were required to publish the magazine, and he got to be editor as long as he lived,' a former staffer told the New York Post at the time.
'So while he might not have been highly involved in the day-to-day, just him being alive served as a shield,' the source added. 'And those of us working there always assumed that they would shut the magazine down the second he passed away.'
And now, it seems that Rizvi Traverse is doing just that.
'We plan to spend 2018 transitioning it from a media business to a brand-management company,' Kohn told the Journal.
'I'm not sure that print is necessarily the best way to communicate to our consumer going forward,' Kohn added.
The shareholder is looking to gain the 35 per cent stake that Hefner left in trust to his heirs, a source told the Journal.
Beginning in 2011, Rizvi Traverse has focused on licensing deals, placing its name on nightclubs in India and casinos in London.
Kohn said more focus will now be on equity partnerships, including moving parties from the Playboy mansion to Las Vegas nightclubs, where they generate income instead of being magazine marketing expenses, according to the Journal's report.
According to Kohn, revenue is expected to grow by 20 per cent in 2018, despite the possible magazine closure.