Playboy owner to buy lingerie retailer Honey Birdette for over $330 million

Honey Birdette has garnered attention in Australia for its provocative marketing

The owner of the Playboy brand is purchasing an Australian luxury lingerie retailer for $333 million, according to people familiar with the matter, as the former magazine publisher tries to expand its business beyond licensing its famous bunny-ear logo.

Honey Birdette, the lingerie brand PLBY Group Inc. is acquiring, has around 60 physical stores primarily located in Australia, with a few in the U.S. and the U.K. The company expects revenue of more than $73 million for the fiscal year that ends this month, representing growth of over 40%.

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The company plans to use its reputation as a pleasure and leisure lifestyle brand to accelerate Honey Birdette’s expansion in different markets through online and physical stores, according to people familiar with the matter. In the coming months, new retail stores will open in Dallas, Miami and New York, the people said.

Playboy went public last year after a special-purpose acquisition company, or SPAC acquired it in a deal that valued the brand at $415 million. Playboy had been taken private in 2011 by founder Hugh Hefner, who died in 2017, and private-equity firm Rizvi Traverse.

In the past decade, Playboy has focused on earning money through licensing deals, placing its name and distinctive logo on clothing lines, nightclubs, casinos, fragrances and more. The company in March 2020 ceased publication in the U.S. of its print magazine, which had struggled with profitability for years.

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Honey Birdette, which sells sex toys in addition to lingerie, has garnered attention in Australia for its provocative marketing, such as video mall ads featuring models wearing bondage collars.

Meanwhile, some competitors in the lingerie retail industry such as Victoria’s Secret are moving away from relying on supermodels in advertising and are incorporating inclusivity into their marketing.