Twinkies king buys Playboy Mansion for $100 million; looks like only two bidders for Gawker
Daren Metropoulos, the 33 year old son of billionaire investor and businessman Dean Metropoulos, already owns the home next door, and must let the 90 year old Hugh Hefner live at the mansion until his death
The Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles was listed with realtors in January and priced at $200 million. Today, Daren Metropoulos, principal at the investment firm Metropoulos & Co., and co-owner of Hostess Brands, released a press release saying he had bought the Hugh Hefner property for $100 million. He already owns the house next door, so it is safe to say that the man is filthy rich.
He also must have an ego and big as the moon as his press release contains quite a few pictures of himself, along with a few of the house.
“The Playboy Mansion is one of the most iconic properties in the world and the crown jewel of Holmby Hills and the platinum triangle,” said Metropoulos in his press release. “For the last 45 years, Mr. Hefner has imbued the estate with a rich and storied legacy. The property’s heritage is not only that of a famous address; it is a true masterpiece in design, constructed by a noted architect for a family who played an important role in the development of Los Angeles in the early 20th Century.”
Metropoulos is 33, comes from a wealthy family. Besides being the owner of the maker of Twinkies, he is also former owner co-CEO of the Pabst Brewing Company, working all his life (according to his press release) “alongside his father, Dean Metropoulos, and brother, Evan Metropoulos, acquiring, transforming and increasing the value of iconic companies, brands and assets. The family has owned, revitalized and sold numerous brands such as Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Ghirardelli Chocolates, Perrier Jouët champagne, Bumble Bee Tuna, Chef Boyardee, Duncan Hines and many others.”
But before you get too jealous of the rich kid, be aware that one of the conditions of the purchase was the Hugh gets to live at the mansion until his death. – and age 90, it is doubtful there will be many swinging parties held at the joint, unless Metropoulos hold them himself. Twinkies and champagne, can’t wait.
Late today Gawker goes under the auctioneer’s gavel, but it looks like there will only be two bidders: Ziff Davis which was reportedly submitting a $90 million stalking horse bid, and Univision, which already owns a minority stake in The Onion.
One report said Vox Media might submit a joint bid with Penske Media, but no one has confirmed that as of yet.
The last media auction such as this one was in March of this year when Tribune Publishing – now tronc – won the Freedom Communications auction with a $56 million bid, only to be stopped by the Justice Department over newspaper monopoly concerns. So, instead of the owner of the Los Angeles Times winning the Orange County Register and Riverside Press-Enterprise, it was Digital First Media. DFM owns a series of smaller community papers in Southern California such as the Pasadena Star-News and Long Beach Press-Telegram.
“If this acquisition is allowed to proceed, newspaper competition will be eliminated and readers and advertisers in Orange and Riverside Counties will suffer,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division back in March.
“Tribune’s acquisition of its most significant competitor would give it a monopoly over newspaper sales in each county and allow it to increase subscription prices, raise advertising rates and invest less to maintain the quality of its newspapers,” the DOJ said at the time.
There will be no such intervention at the Gawker auction. In fact, it appears that only a few media companies see any value in the digital media properties. But some of those bidding may consider this a acquihire, with founder Nick Denton needing money, he may well decide to stay on to run the properties. If not,