Playboy is expanding its portfolio.
On Tuesday, the men’s lifestyle firm revealed plans to acquire lingerie brand Honey Birdette for about $333 million USD in cash and stock in an attempt to grow parent company Plby Group’s lingerie and sexual wellness categories while building upon Honey Birdette’s sourcing and design capabilities.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Honey Birdette to Plby Group,” Ben Kohn, chief executive officer of Plby Group, said in a statement. “We strongly believe in the power of brands and are thrilled by Honey Birdette’s potential to become a multibillion dollar luxury lifestyle franchise. I’ve been enormously impressed by Eloise [Monaghan, founder of Honey Birdette] and the rest of the Honey Birdette team and the organic, rapid growth they’ve driven.
“Our plan is twofold: to leverage Plby Group and the Playboy brand’s global operations to accelerate Honey Birdette’s expansion into new territories and product categories and to take advantage of Honey Birdette’s superior product design, sourcing and direct-to-consumer capabilities to accelerate our Playboy-branded lingerie, loungewear, swimwear and sexual wellness go-to-market plans targeting the masstige consumer,” Kohn continued. “This acquisition is expected to further our mission to become the leading pleasure and leisure lifestyle platform and our commitment to deliver long-term value to our shareholders.”
Australian lingerie brand Honey Birdette, which was established in 2006, now sells in North America and Europe. The brand is anticipating about $73 million in revenues and roughly $28 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the 12 months ending June 30. That’s 40 percent and 95 percent growth, year-over-year, respectively. The deal is expected to close in 2021’s third quarter.
Honey Birdette also plans to open new brick-and-mortar locations across the U.S., U.K. and Europe, including new stores in Dallas, Miami and New York this year. The brand will also add to its lingerie assortment with innerwear, loungewear and swimwear.
“When I founded Honey Birdette 15 years ago, my ambition was to build a brand for women by women; a brand that would serve as a platform for confidence and sexual and body empowerment,” said Monaghan, who also serves as managing director of the brand. “I am immensely proud of everything we’ve accomplished, with 60 thriving stores across three countries, powered by 350 fierce female ambassadors. Today is a momentous and proud day for the Honey Birdette team as we enter into partnership with one of the world’s most iconic brands and the lifestyle platform it represents.”
Playboy, which went public earlier this year under the Plby Group, is in growth mode. The firm completed the $25 million acquisition of Lovers, a sexual wellness chain, in March. In addition, Plby Group acquired lingerie brand Yandy in December 2019.
Playboy is also trying to pivot away from its legacy as a man-centric magazine (Playboy’s print magazine ceased publication at the start of the pandemic after 66 years in circulation) rebranding itself, instead, as a consumer lifestyle business for men and women.
In April, Anna Ondaatje, vice president of global brand and franchise strategy at Playboy, told WWD that retail — including lingerie, swimwear and cosmetics — will account for more than 95 percent of total revenues in 2021.