Penthouse Magazine Closing? CEO Says No, COO Says Yes

Internet porn has devastated old-fashioned smut rags. We now hear a top executive at FriendFinder Networks, the publisher of Penthouse, wants to close the money-losing magazine down. But his boss denies it.

Two sources close to FriendFinder says that Anthony Previte, FriendFinder's chief operating officer, "announced he is closing down Penthouse because it does not make any money and is in the red for production."

We called FriendFinder CEO Marc Bell to ask him about the rumor. He laughed, and then pointed out that since his company had filed with the SEC for an initial public offering to raise $460 million, if he planned to close the magazine down, he'd need to disclose that to the investing public.

Either way, folding the magazine wouldn't be a big blow to FriendFinder Networks — one source pegged losses from a recent issue at $16,000 — since the company makes most of its money off of raunchy personals websites like Adult FriendFinder, which Penthouse's publisher acquired in 2007. The bigger issue: The company's management can't seem to agree on whether to stay in the print business. On top of that, the company's facing a lawsuit from its former director of HR.