Playboy Enterpries Inc. announced Thursday its merger with Mountain Crest Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), or blank check company, in a deal valuing the company at $415 million.
The iconic men's magazine founded by Hugh Heffner in 1953 stopped printing its quarterly glossy earlier this year after facing financial hurdles. The company was pulled off the market in 2011 for $205 million by Hefner, who died in 2017 at age 91, and private equity firm Rizvi Traverse. While privately owned, the publication began covering street fashion and building out its e-commerce business. Earlier this year, Playboy acquired online adult accessory and apparel brand Yandy.com.
The brand, led by chief executive officer Ben Kohn, will focus on “creating a lifestyle of pleasure,” Kohn said, aiming to focus on sexual wellness, style and apparel, gaming and lifestyle, and beauty and grooming.
“Our mission – to create a culture where all people can pursue pleasure – is rooted in our 67-year history and creates a clear focus for our business and role we play in people’s lives, providing them with the products, services and experiences that create a lifestyle of pleasure,” Kohn said in a statement.
“We are taking this step into the public markets because the committed capital will enable us to accelerate our product development and go-to-market strategies and to more rapidly build our direct-to-consumer capabilities.”
Kohn told FOX Business that Playboy’s e-commerce sales of consumer products, such as apparel and accessories, have seen a surge as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns.
“There was definitely a spike in April and May. We have a new baseline and that is almost double than what it was before,” Kohn said in a phone interview Thursday.
“Sexual wellness today is a mainstream category. This brand led the sexual revolution, and we want to do it for both men and women. More than 50% of our consumer sales are from women," Kohn explained.
Sex toy sales spiked in the early days of the pandemic as well, with sellers reporting an uptick in consumer demand during stay-at-home orders. Adam & Eve, a retailer that sells sex toys among other products, reported a sales increase of over 30% over 2019 during the height of the pandemic in March. And in April, WOW Tech Group, owner of sex toy brands WeVibe and Womanizer, told VICE that its brands went over their monthly sales projections by more than 40% as of March 25.
Playboy has over $400 million in cash flows contracted through 2029, and sexual wellness products available for sale online and in more than 10,000 major retail stores in the U.S., in addition to a growing variety of clothing and branded lifestyle and digital gaming products.
Once the deal closes, Mountain Crest will trade on Nasdaq under the ticker "PLBY."