Playboy, Challenged By Media Trends & Economy (PLA)

May 6, 2008 by Douglas A. McIntyre

Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: PLA) has reported a net loss for the first quarter of $3.1 million, or -$0.09 per basic and diluted share, on and 8% decline in revenues to $78.5 million.  Unfortunately, First Call had estimates pegged at $0.06 EPS on $84.8 million in revenues.

Playboy Chairman & CEO Christie Hefner said: "The quarter’s results reflected the dual challenges of structural transformation in our traditional media business and a difficult U.S. economy…."  She might as well have just said, "A soft economy is hurting sales, and people can get enough nude pictures and adult videos for free on the Internet."

While exact guidance was not offered, the company does still expect its licensing business to show high single-digit growth in 2008 over 2007.  Elsewhere, the picture was stark.  total domestic TV revenues declined 16% to $16.5 million, online revenues declined 3%, and publishing saw revenues drop 14% to $20.1 million.  The company also noted that it sees a 5%  drop in advertising revenues over Q2 2007.  Corporate administration costs rose 7% to $6.1 million.

Unfortunately, this is going to make these 2008 estimates of $0.27 EPS come down for 2008, and it’s hard to imagine that the $0.48 EPS estimate for 2009 won’t be brought down on a dual concern as well.  If so, then even at $8.00 this is not a cheap stock.

Playboy closed at $8.26 yesterday, and shares are indicated down 3% at $8.01 in pre-market trading; its 52-week trading range is $7.76 to $12.00. At the start of 2006, this was a $15.00 stock and this was a $20 to $30 stock back in the late 1990’s.

Jon C, Ogg
May 6, 2008