The flurry of activity around Playboy Enterprises, owner of the eponymous magazine, illustrates the squeeze on men’s magazines and pornography in the internet era.
It also shows that Playboy is a media brand that is well past its prime.
Hugh Hefner, whose bid to take Playboy private is being challenged by FriendFinder Networks, the owner of Penthouse magazine, founded Playboy in 1953, astutely foreseeing the post-war rise of open sexuality.
Yet while some media brands such as Walt Disney have managed to update themselves for new times, Playboy – with its bunny girls and associations of the swinging sixties – is now archaic.
Avandia, the GlaxoSmithKline anti-diabetes drug that could be taken off the market by the US Food and Drug Administration, is yet another illustration of the difficulties facing pharmaceutical companies in refilling their pipelines with blockbuster drugs.
Avandia’s fate seems already to have been sealed, since sales have been dropping since a 2007 study found an associated risk of heart attacks. If it was removed from the market, it would be the highest profile such event since Merck withdrew its painkiller Vioxx in 2004 on similar concerns.