Richard Branson is throwing cold water on the word that Virgin Group was considering a bid for Playboy Enterprises (NYSE: PLA). A spokesperson for Virgin emailed Reuters to say that “Reports that Virgin Group is looking to buy Playboy Enterprises … are untrue.” As for Playboy, the company has been continuing to say that it is willing to listen to offers, but will not confirm whether it is asking for $300 million.
Over the past few months, as the company has sought to cut costs and its market cap has shrunk to $100 million, it has had a series of layoffs and closed its New York office. And while it has gotten some credit for its digital revamp earlier this year, so far, that has not turned turned the company’s web business around. Investors have been anxious for some time, with many feeling the company has been “under-valued and under-managed.” The search for a new CEO has also been slow, which interim head Jerry Kern still holding the post since the exit of Christie Hefner back in December. The Virgin rumor did give the company’s stock a little boost, sending shares up to $3.12 after having been been hovering around $1.15 two months ago. Playboy was still up as the trading day closed, gaining 4.82 percent to end at $3.26.