Hugh Hefner’s quest for a new owner of the Playboy mansion ready to let him continue living there appears to have found the perfect buyer - his next door neighbour.
Daren Metropoulos, a billionaire private equity banker, has signed a deal to buy the six-acre property in Los Angeles’ exclusive Holmby Hills neighbourhood for a “nine digit” sum, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Mr Hefner, 90, put the 29-room mansion - legendary for its hedonistic parties and “bunny girls” - on the market in January, valuing it at US$200 million (£138 million).
He added the unusual proviso that the buyer would have to let him live there for the rest of his life - and leave the famous Hefner bedroom, long subject of great mystique, untouched until after his death.
Mr Metropoulos, who purchased the house next door to the mansion from Mr Hefner in 2009, is believed to have agreed to the conditions.
He said his goal was to preserve the architectural heritage of a property that was built in 1927 rather than continue the storied tradition of celebrity-spangled soirees for which it has been known since Mr Hefner purchased it for just over $1 million 45 years ago.
“The heritage of this property transcends its celebrity, and to have the opportunity to serve as its steward would be a true privilege,” Mr. Metropoulos said.
He has not revealed the buying price. Property analysts believed Mr Hefner’s original asking price was excessive in view of his special conditions, which some thought would put off prospective purchasers.
The mansion - which guests enter after introducing themselves through an intercom system embedded in a rock at the front gate - is said to be in a state of disrepair, with mismatching rooms and out-dated decor.
Mr Metropoulos, former co-chief executive of the Pabst Brewing Company. plans to eventually unite the mansion and its grounds with the house next door into an all-in-one 7.3 acre property.
The mansion has been at the centre of allegations against Bill Cosby after a 26-year-old model, Chloe Goins, alleged she was sexually assaulted by the comedian at one of Mr Hefner’s parties in 2008. Ms Goins last month took out a civil case that named Mr Hefner as a co-defendant, saying he “encouraged, aided and ratified” the alleged incident by inviting Mr Cosby to the party.
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