Playboy Shops Around for New Owner

PHOTO: Playboy Magazine unveiled the cover for its March 2016 issue, the first non-nude edition of the magazine in its history. PlayPRNewsFoto/Playboy Enterprises
WATCH Playboy Explores a Possible Sale

First Playboy magazine kissed nudity goodbye. Now the company is looking for new owners.

A spokesman for Playboy Enterprises Inc. confirmed to ABC News today that the iconic media company is considering a sale. Playboy Enterprises could be worth more than $500 million, according to The Wall Street Journal. Its licensing business alone could potentially be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Playboy spokesman John Vlautin confirmed that the company is "engaged in a process to gauge interest from additional investment partners to help us continue to expand our media, entertainment and licensing businesses. This process could eventually lead to a sale of the company."

This month's issue of Playboy, which Hugh Hefner founded in 1953, was the first that didn't feature nudity, part of the magazine's re-design. The magazine features Snapchat and Instagram star Sarah McDaniel on the cover. This month's Playmate is Dree Hemingway, whose mother, actress Mariel Hemingway, appeared in the magazine in 1982.

Early indications are that newsstand sales for the March issue are 50 percent higher compared to last year's issue, Vlautin told ABC News.

"Over the past six months, Playboy’s editorial team has been rethinking and redesigning the storied publication, using the intellectual, artistic and literary powerhouse years of the 1960s Playboy as their guiding light," the company said of the redesigned issue last month. "The result is a Playboy magazine for a new generation, full of fresh contributors, new regular features, and an entirely contemporary take on photographing the beautiful women who have made the publication one of the most enduring and successful of all time."

Hefner took Playboy private in 2011 and owns about one-third of the company, The Journal reported, alongside private-equity firm Rizvi Traverse Management.

Rizvi Traverse Management did not immediately respond to a request for comment.