There's a growing threat to Playboy on Snapchat, and the legacy media company has looked into buying it, Business Insider has learned.
Playboy is considering all sorts of options, including a sale or partial sale, but is also looking at buying younger companies to stay relevant. One of those companies is Arsenic, a growing media company that crowdsources sexy images of women and has grown rapidly on newer social media platforms.
In early March, the company had on average more than 500,000 views on Snapchat every day and close to 1 million followers on Instagram, double what Maxim Magazine has and close to a quarter of Playboy's 4.5 million. Arsenic's daily views on Snapchat almost rival the circulation of Playboy's magazine, which dropped from around 5.6 million in 1975 to around 800,000 in recent years.
RELATED GALLERY: Playboy bunnies through the years
Playboy bunnies through the years
Playboy is interested in buying one of its fastest growing competitors
A troupe of Bunny girl dancers including Maureen Hayden and Marianne Hunt during a performance at London's Playboy Club. (Photo by Victor Blackman/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 19: Actor Rock Hudson signs the cuff of a Playboy Bunny at a dinner for the Motion Picture Pioneers Association at the Playboy Club on November 19, 1962 in New York, New York. (Photo by PoPsie Randolph/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
25th April 1966: Five English 'bunny girls' arrive back in at London Airport, after six months training at the Playboy headquarters in Chicago. These girls will act as hostesses at Playboy's first European club in Park Lane, London. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Dick Van Dyke and Playboy Bunny during McCarthy Fundraising Dinner and Party at The Playboy Club in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
24th March 1970: Three Playboy Club Bunny Girls practice their serving during a training session for the All-London Waiter and Waitress Race to be held for charity in Battersea Park. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
Playboy Bunny during At the London Playboy Club for a Bunny Pictorial - August 1, 1969 at London Playboy Club in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
The 'Singing Bunnies' - Bunny Girl waitresses at the London Playboy Club - perform a song during the club's 'Showtime In The Playroom' spot, circa 1972. The group have recorded an album and are, left to right: Elaine Tulley, Heather Colne, Rosemary Lamb, Julie Ann Smith, Jo Anne Wigley and Karen Parkinson. (Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20: A Playboy Bunny model poses at the China Club during Dewar's 12 Playboy Lounge Tour on November 19, 2002 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Peyton/Getty Images)
Playboy Bunnies during Super Bowl XXXVI - Playboy's Super Saturday Night at St Elizabeth's Orphanage in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
Playboy Bunny during Playboy's 50th Anniversary Celebration in New York City - Arrivals at New York State Armory in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Theo Wargo/WireImage)
Playboy Bunny during Playboy's 5th Annual Super Saturday Night Event Brings Heaven and Hell to Houston at Corinthian in Houston, Texas, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
One of the New Playboy Bunny Uniforms Designed By Roberto Cavalli (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 05: Playboy Playmates (L-R) Cara Zavaleta, Stacy Sanches, Lauren Hill, Shallan Meiers, Playboy Playmate of the Year 2005 Tiffany Fallon, and Qiana Chase, model Playboy Bunny costumes during a party for the fourth anniversary of the Palms Casino Resort November 5, 2005 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Christina Santiago, Playmate of the Year 2003 during Saks Fifth Avenue and Playboy Invite You to 'Shop With a Bunny' - December 7, 2005 at Saks Fifth Avenue: Men's Fifth Avenue Club in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage for Saks Fifth Avenue)
Courtney Culkin, April 2005, Colleen Marie, August 2003, Deanna Brooks, May 1998, Lauren Hill, February 2001, Christina Santiago, Playmate of the Year 2003, and Jennifer Walcott, August 2001 (Photo by Duffy-Marie Arnoult/WireImage for Saks Fifth Avenue)
Playboy Bunny's during Playboy Mexico Magazine 4th Anniversary at Casino EspaÃ±ol in Mexico City, Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 30: Playboy Bunny Shannon attends the Playboy fragrance launch at the Hotel on Rivington on October 30, 2008 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Kohen/WireImage) *** Local Caption ***
LAS VEGAS - AUGUST 04: Jenny McCarthy poses with Playboy Bunny dealers during her 'Big Deal' charity fundraiser to benefit 'Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program at UCLA' at the Playboy Club at the Palms Hotel and Casino Resort on August 4, 2007 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage)
Carmen Electra plays Celebrity Bunny Dealer at the Playboy Club at The Palms Hotel on December 13, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - JUNE 10: Playboy bunnies Pennelope Jimenez, Laurie Fetter and Deanna Brooks pose for a photo at the Playboy's 50th anniversary hosted by American Media, Inc's David Pecker in celebration of its iconic Playboy Bunny and world-famous Playboy Clubs at Juliet Supper Club on June 10, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Kohen/Getty Images for American Media, Inc.)
STANSTED, ENGLAND - JUNE 02: Playboy Bunnies wait airside for the arrival of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner at Stansted Airport on June 2, 2011 in Stansted, England. Mr Hefner is back in the UK to mark the launch of the new Playboy Club in Mayfair, which opens on June 4. The clubs opening will welcome back the iconic Playboy Bunny to Londonafter a 30 year absence. Famous Bunnies have included Debbie Harry and Lauren Hutton. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - NOVEMBER 30: Playboy Bunny attends the Christmas Playboy Mexico magazine party at the Ragga Antara Polanco on November 30, 2011 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage)
MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - OCTOBER 18: Playboy bunnies attend the Playboy Mexico magazine 10th anniversary party at Allondra interlomas on October 18, 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage)
Two playboy bunnies pose for photos at the Indian Playboy club in Mumbai on December 19, 2012. Playboy unveiled a new-look bunny costume for its upcoming Indian club launch, opting for a more demure take on the waitress outfits but keeping the ears, bow-ties and fluffy tails. In a bid to appease conservative Indian values, the traditional skimpy corset has been replaced with a sari-inspired two-piece costume, comprising a one-shoulder top, a bare midriff and a sheer, full-length skirt with a split. AFP PHOTO/ STR (Photo credit should read STRDEL/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 31: Playboy Bunnies attend The Playboy Party at The Bud Light Hotel Lounge, on Friday, January 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Playboy)
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According to a person with knowledge of the talks, Playboy approached the young startup to become its millennial brand and attract a new audience to the legacy publication in an effort to revive itself. The terms of the deal and where it stands in light of the sales news are unknown. Arsenic declined to confirm or comment on any talks between the parties.
"We admire Playboy and, in particular, their rich history, but we decline any further comment. We're simply focused on our future"
Billy Hawkins, Arsenic CEO
"We admire Playboy and, in particular, their rich history, but we decline any further comment. We're simply focused on our future," its CEO Billy Hawkins told Business Insider.
Playboy did not respond to request for comment.
While Arsenic has built its following on young, raw, and edgy, Playboy has moved in the opposite direction. Last fall, the company announced it will stop publishing nude photos, saying they had become outdated due to the plethora of free pornography on the internet.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported news of Playboy's sales talks. The company could be reportedly worth as much as $500 million. Arsenic has raised $750,000 from Arena Ventures and Wavemaker Partners, according to Pitchbook.