Playboy wants to sell itself, and could go for more than $500 million

Playboy Might Be Auctioned Off
Playboy Might Be Auctioned Off

Playboy is "exploring a sale," and could potentially be valued at $500 million, according to the Wall Street Journal's Steven Perlberg and Dana Cimilluca.

Investment bank Moelis & Co. is advising Playboy, Business Insider confirmed.

The company is also reportedly "open" to breaking itself up and selling the pieces.

Founder Hugh Hefner owns about a third of Playboy, sources told the Journal. He took Playboy private in 2011 with Rizvi Traverse Management, a private equity firm, in a deal which valued the company at $207 million.

The Journal pegs Playboy's 2015 revenue at $38 million from media and $55 million from licensing.

A look at Playboy bunnies through the years:

Last fall, Playboy dropped fully nude women from its print product. "That battle has been fought and won," CEO Scott Flanders told The New York Times at the time. "You're now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it's just passé at this juncture."

In January, the Playboy Mansion went up for sale for $200 million. The sale, however, would require Hugh Hefner to be able to live out the rest of his days in the iconic 29-room mansion. The potential $500 million valuation for Playboy "might also include the mansion," according to the Journal's Miriam Gottfried.

Playboy thinks its brand is so powerful, that Playboy's bunny is arguably more recognizable than Nike's swoosh.

Playboy was not immediately available to comment.

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