Playboy to return to stock market after nine years

(Reuters) – Playboy Enterprises Inc will return to the stock market through a merger with a blank check company in a deal that values it at $381 million, according to a statement on Thursday.

The merger with Mountain Crest Acquisition Corp MCAC.O comes nine years after Playboy went private in a $207 million deal led by its late founder Hugh Hefner and private equity firm Rizvi Traverse Management.

As part of the deal, Mountain Crest will sell $50 million of its common stock to institutional investors.

Shares of Mountain Crest were up about 2% in morning trade.

Last month, Reuters reported Playboy’s plans to go public.

After the deal closes, which is expected in the first quarter of 2021, the combined company will be led by Playboy chief executive officer Ben Kohn and will be listed on Nasdaq under the ticker “PLBY”.

A blank-check company, or a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), uses capital raised through an initial public offering to buy a private company, usually within two years. Investors are not notified in advance what the SPAC will buy.

Mountain Crest raised $50 million in an initial public offering earlier this year. SPACs have emerged as an increasingly popular route to public markets over a traditional IPO in 2020.

Since going private, Playboy’s print sales have fallen further. The COVID-19 pandemic compounded its challenges, leading Playboy to stop printing its flagship magazine earlier this year, ending a nearly seven-decade run on newsstands that began in 1953 with a debut issue featuring Marilyn Monroe.

The company has expanded beyond its media business to refashion itself as a lifestyle brand and is eyeing expansion into sexual wellness.

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