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PEOPLE: Playboy agrees to Hef buyout

Playboy agrees to Hef buyout

NEW YORK — The publisher of Playboy magazine has agreed to accept a sweetened buyout offer from a partnership headed by founder Hugh Hefner, allowing the original playboy to fulfill his plans to take the company private.

Hefner is Playboy’s largest shareholder with about 70 percent of Playboy Enterprises Inc.’s voting shares and 28 percent of the nonvoting stock. By leading a buyout for a larger portion, the 84-year-old known for his penchant for silk pajamas and young blond women is betting that the racy magazine he launched in 1953 can still reap profits in the digital age.

It’s been a challenge. The printed Playboy has struggled with rivals from the Web and has lost both readers and advertisers. In November, the company reported a wider third quarter loss than a year ago as its revenue fell 7 percent to $52.1 million.

To stem its losses, Playboy’s management has been trying to transform the company from a publishing and TV business into a ‘‘brand management’’ company, leaning more on revenue from licensing out the Playboy name and bunny ears for a range of products, such as lingerie, handbags and sunglasses.

Judge: Hatch violated terms of release

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A judge says reality TV star Richard Hatch has violated the terms of his supervised release, but he didn’t immediately send the ‘‘Survivor’’ winner back to jail.

U.S. District Judge William Smith said Monday it was clear that Hatch had failed to refile his 2000 and 2001 tax returns, as required by a judge at the time of his 2006 sentencing. Hatch was convicted of failing to pay taxes on the $1 million prize he won on the debut season of ‘‘Survivor.’’

The Internal Revenue Service says he now owes about $1.7 million in taxes for those years, including interest and penalties.

Smith said he would sentence Hatch after receiving additional written arguments from lawyers on both sides.

Jewish singer Friedman dies

LOS ANGELES — Jewish folk singer Debbie Friedman, whose songs are performed in Reform synagogues around the world, has died in California.

Rabbi Elliott Kleinman of the Union for Reform Judaism said she was in her 50s.