Playboy Enterprises Inc. is reportedly exploring a sale that could be worth as much as half a billion dollars.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the parent company of the iconic Playboy men’s magazine has retained the investment banking services of Moelis & Co. to help shop the brand to potential buyers.
The Hugh Hefner-founded company, which became private in 2011 with a valuation of $207 million, reportedly made $38 million from its flagship magazine and an additional $55 million from licensing its brand to other companies last year.
The magazine’s circulation currently sits at around 800,000, down significantly from its peak of 5.6 million in 1975. However, the Journal reports that revenue from licensing could be worth as much as hundreds of millions of dollars in the future.
The company also owns the iconic Playboy Mansion in California, which it put up for sale earlier this year for $200 million.
In October, the company announced its magazine would no longer feature the nudity that made it one of the most sought-after publications for adolescent males for six decades and simultaneously turned the Playboy bunny into one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
In an interview with the New York Times announcing the decision, Playboy CEO Scott Flanders said the magazine’s brand of naughtiness had become almost quaint compared to the virtually endless supply of free, easily accessible pornography on the Internet.
“You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture,” Flanders told the Times.
The magazine’s March 2016 issue was the first not to feature nudity. Its cover model was Sarah McDaniel, and the format was meant to resemble a disappearing message from the social media messaging service Snapchat.