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Playboy Owner to Buy Honey Birdette for $333 Million

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The owner of the Playboy brand is purchasing Australian luxury lingerie retailer, Honey Birdette for $333 million, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Honey Birdette has a network of approximately 60 stores, mainly in Australia, but also some in the US and the UK. The company expects revenue of more than $73 million for the fiscal year that ends this month, representing growth of over 40 percent year-on-year.

Honey Birdette, which sells sex toys in addition to lingerie, has been the subject of controversy in Australia for its provocative marketing, which parents’ groups have described as “soft porn”.

Its approach is certainly different than the more inclusive messaging and diverse representations adopted by other global lingerie success stories of recent years, including Savage X Fenty and Aerie. Even Victoria’s Secret has had a rethink of its previously overt “sex sells” approach ahead of its pending spin-off from L Brands Inc.

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.

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 purchase of Honey Birdette perhaps signals its intention to move beyond bunny ears into more extensive fashion brand building.