It is the dawn of a new era at the Playboy Mansion. Move over Hugh Hefner, 32-year-old Daren Metropoulos is moving in! Daren who? Who is Daren Metropoulos and how did he make the estimated $100 million he paid for one of the world's most notorious party houses?
Well, it helps that Daren is Hugh Hefner's neighbor. Seven years ago, Daren bought the sprawling $18 million mansion next door to the Playboy Mansion. Metropoulos is the son of billionaire businessman C. Dean Metropoulos and the former CEO of Pabst Brewing Company. Basically, Daren won the genetic lottery being born into his family. His father is well known for reviving sagging brands like Hostess, Bumble Bee Tuna, Pabst, and Chef Boyardee.
Daren's father, C. Dean Metropoulos is a Greek-born, American billionaire businessman and investor who has been dubbed "Mr. Shelf Space" for his absolute dominance over the grocery store shelves in the U.S. Over the past three decades, Metropoulos has revived brands from Duncan Hines to Hungry-Man to Vlasic and Twinkies.
C. Dean Metropoulos was born in Greece in 1946 and emigrated to the U.S. with his parents when he was 10-years-old. He received his Bachelor's degree and MBA from Massachusetts' Babson College. Metropoulos made his first big corporate deal when he was still in his 20s. He used his entire life's savings to buy a European company that made space heaters and air conditioners. From there he acquired a Vermont-based specialty cheese company.
In 1996, Metropoulos teamed up with a Dallas buyout firm to buy International Home Foods, the parent company of Chef Boyardee and Bumble Bee tuna. Four years later, they sold it to food industry giant ConAgra for more than $3 billion. Metropoulos doubled his money on that deal. Over the course of his career, Metropoulos has targeted brands that were household names that had been badly mismanaged, but still had positive brand recognition. Some of the brands Metropoulos bought and re-launched include Ghirardelli chocolate, Pam cooking spray, and Perrier-Jouet champagne.
In 2010, Metropoulos bought Pabst for $250 million cash and set out to revive it. He put his sons Daren and Evan in charge of the brewer. He had been grooming them to take over his empire for years. Daren and Evan used their knowledge of social media and brand building to make Pabst a favorite among college kids and hipsters. Many people assumed the Metropoulos family would own Pabst for generations, but after orchestrating the brand's comeback, the family sold the company in 2014. The Metropoulos family made $500 million in profit on that deal.
Then, in 2013, Hostess went bankrupt and Metropoulos and his sons leapt into action. They teamed up with the private equity firm Apollo Global Management to buy Hostess for more than $400 million. The Metropoulos family saved Twinkies from extinction. They made dramatic changes in production lines to enhance efficiency. The Metropoulos family then re-launched the dessert brand with the slogan "The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever."
What's next on the horizon for C. Dean Metropoulos and his two sons? Well, the family has been pretty vocal about wanting to buy an NFL franchise. Over the past few years, the Metropoulos name has been mentioned in talks for the Oakland Raiders, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Buffalo Bills.
C. Dean Metropoulos now runs his own private equity firm, Metropoulos & Co., and has a net worth of $2.1 billion.
What we want to know is will Daren move in with Hefner or continue living next door and use the mansion as a party house? Remember, as part of the deal, the sale of the mansion includes Hefner. The old man is not vacating his house.