Iconic US brand Playboy has bought out Aussie lingerie label Honey Birdette for $440 million

Darren CartwrightNCA NewsWire
VideoHayley Hasselholf speaks about becoming Playboy’s first plus size model

The American company behind the iconic Playboy brand has announced a $439 million buyout of a risque Australian lingerie label.

Playboy’s parent company, PLBY Group, Inc. overnight announced it had entered into a “definitive agreement” to acquire Honey Birdette, which began in Brisbane 15 years ago and now has 60 boutiques in three countries.

“The US company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the equity of Honey Birdette for a purchase price of approximately $439m ($US333m) in cash and stock,” the company said in a statement.

Camera IconEloise Monaghan founded Honey Birdette in Brisbane and now it has sold for more than $430 million to the company behind Playboy, which was founded by Hugh Heffner. Justin Lloyd Credit: News Corp Australia

The lingerie stores were established in Brisbane in 2006 by Eloise Monaghan, who is also the creative director.

Honey Birdette has been known for its daring ads and pushing the boundaries of censorship.

In 2017, the advertising watchdog banned their in-store advertising because it was of a “highly sexual nature”.

After receiving a complaint, the image was banned by the Australian Ad Standards Bureau for breaching Section 2.4 of the Code, which states “Advertising or Marketing Communications shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience”.

Ms Monaghan said she was extremely proud that her Brisbane start-up business had been acquired by PLYBY Group.

“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,” Ms Monaghan said in a statement.

Honey Birdette lingerie label sells to Playboy in the USA for $US330m. Picture: Supplied
Camera IconHoney Birdette has 60 boutiques in three countries. Supplied Credit: NCA NewsWire

“I am immensely proud of everything we’ve accomplished – with 60 thriving stores across three countries.

“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. I’m thrilled to join Ben (Kohn) and the whole PLBY Group team on a mission to build a lifestyle of pleasure for all.”

PLBY Group CEO Ben Kohn said in a statement that the Australian-based business has significantly grown its consumer reach and operations to North America and Europe.

“The acquisition of Honey Birdette will expand PLBY Group’s brand portfolio with a new high-end franchise,” he said.

Honey Birdette lingerie label sells to Playboy in the USA for $US330m. Picture: Supplied
Camera IconPLBY Group CEO Ben Kohn said Honey Birdette was a strong brand and a high-end franchise. Supplied Credit: NCA NewsWire

“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 and the rest of the Honey Birdette team and the organic, rapid growth they’ve driven.”

He said Honey Birdette expected approximately $97 million ($US73m) of revenue and approximately $37 million $ (US28m) of EBITDA (Earnings Before Depreciation, Interest, Taxes and Amortisation) for the 12 months ending June 30, 2021.

Originally published as Iconic US brand Playboy has bought out an Aussie lingerie label for $440 million

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