Playboy Enterprises, known for its iconic but struggling men's lifestyle magazine, said Thursday it had hired an investment adviser to look at a possible sale of the company.
A company spokesman told AFP it had retained Moelis & Co to examine a sale or other strategic options, confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Playboy, which has been seeking a new image in an age of easy access to online pornography, is currently controlled by Rizvi Traverse Management, which holds about two-thirds of the capital, and founder Hugh Hefner, with about one-third.
The Journal said a sale could yield about $500 million. The famous Playboy Mansion was put on sale earlier this year, and could fetch some $200 million.
As a privately held company, Playboy's finances are not routinely made public. The 2011 deal which took it private and delisted its shares valued Playboy at around $207 million.
The magazine's circulation peaked in 1972 at seven million, but has declined to about 800,000 now.
Playboy has already toned down some content in order to be allowed on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that drive Internet traffic.
Playboy is still featuring a Playmate of the Month, though the images will now be "PG-13," according to the company.
The Playboy brand, with its trademark silhouette logo of a bunny wearing a bow tie, has had a major impact worldwide.
Hefner founded the magazine in 1953 with a centerfold of Marilyn Monroe, and he took credit for helping spur the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.