BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Playboy Enterprises Inc. has begun exploring a sale.
The storied magazine publisher and brand owner has reportedly hired investment bank Moelis & Co. to advise and auction off the company in a sale that may fetch more than $500 million.
Playboy could choose to sell itself as bulk property or in pieces or not sell at all and stay on its current course.
Founder Hugh Hefner, who founded the company in 1953, owns about a one-third stake in the company.
Hefner took the company private in 2011 along with private-equity firm Rizvi Traverse Management in a deal valued at $207 million.
No longer trading as a public company, Playboy doesn’t disclose detailed financials.
However, the company reportedly generated about $38 million from media, including the magazine and digital publishing initiatives, and $55 million from licensing its brand to other companies last year.
Playboy makes most of its money from licensing its brand and logo across the world for fragrances, clothing, night clubs, restaurants and jewelry, among other products and services, including foreign Playboy-branded magazines.
It also operates Playboy magazine in the U.S., which has a circulation of about 800,000, down from its peak number of 5.6 million in 1975. This past month, Playboy magazine removed nudity from the publication.
The company sold off Internet properties and TV broadcast businesses, including Playboy, Playboy TV and the Spice channels, to MindGeek in 2011.
Currently, the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company is attempting to sell off separate assets, such as the Playboy Mansion, which reportedly attracted bidders for the whole company.