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Playboy Enterprises Is Exploring $500 Million Sale

Founder Hugh Hefner owns about one-third of the media company

Playboy Enterprises Inc. is exploring a sale, a move that comes shortly after the famed magazine stopped publishing nude photos.

Investment bank Moles & Co. is advising Playboy, a privately held company of which Hugh Hefner owns roughly one-third, with private-equity firm Rizvi Traverse Management controlling the rest, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The WSJ estimates that Playboy could sell for north of $500 million and potential buyers include “companies that would license the brand for use in consumer goods, new-media outfits or trophy buyers.”

Playboy decided last October to stop publishing fully nude photos of women as part of a redesign aimed to take the company into the modern, digital age. The magazine still includes photo spreads of women in provocative poses and debuted its first non-nude issue featuring model Sarah McDaniel last month.

The company generated $38 million from media and $55 million from licensing out its brand to other companies for a total of $93 million in 2015, according to the WSJ.

Moelis & Co. declined to comment. Playboy has not responded to a request for comment.