European-based sex-toy company Germany Wow Tech Group and UK-based online retailer Lovehoney merged in a $1.2 billion deal, creating the world's largest sexual wellness company.
WHO: Richard Longhurst and Neal Slateford founded Lovehoney in 2002. The UK-based business is a leading e-commerce retailer, manufacturer, and distributor of pleasure products and accessories. The business supports websites globally in the US, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, EU, Canada, and New Zealand, with a global customer base of 2.2 million people.
In May 2017, Johannes Plettenberg, backed by investors, acquired the Womanizer brand, and in 2018, merged it with the Canadian brand We-Vibe, forming WOW Tech Group and creating a B2B market leader. In 2020, CDH Investments acquired a majority stake in the business, fueling product innovation and accelerating global expansion.
WHY: This transaction will bring together some of the industry's best-known consumer brands Fifty Shades of Grey, Happy Rabbit, Womanizer, We-Vibe, and Arcwave.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Johannes Plettenberg, CEO of Lovehoney Group, commented, "Sexual wellbeing products have gained a mainstream position in today's market, supported by liberalization, acceptance of sexual awareness, and the influence of popular culture."
"Amorana, Lovehoney, and WOW Tech share the same mission to destigmatize sexuality, empower people to enjoy a fulfilling love life, and experience sexual happiness. Combined, Lovehoney Group will provide a specialist e-commerce platform with unmatched international reach, with the creator of the most well-known and innovative brands in the industry," Plettenberg said.
Telemos Capital founder and Executive Chairman Philippe Jacobs and Chief Investment Officer Jacob Polny said, "Lovehoney and WOW Tech will bring together a unique proposition for both business and individual customers, providing best-in-industry service and innovative products in more countries than ever. This sector is rapidly mainstreaming with the sexual wellbeing category now offered by high-street retailers. We foresee consumer demand accelerating around the world, and with the Lovehoney Group, we will continue to innovate and progress the whole sexual wellbeing market."
Thomas Lanyi, Managing Director CDH Investments, adds, "The marriage of WOW Tech and Lovehoney, the leading branded manufacturer and truly global retailer of sexual wellbeing products, presents an extremely exciting opportunity. Joining forces will benefit all our stakeholders, while also advancing the general acceptance and recognition of our industry, in a broader economic and societal context."
- Germany Wow Tech Group and UK-based online retailer LoveHoney merged in a $1.2 billion deal.
- Lovehoney owner Telemos Capital will be lead investor in the newly formed LHG, with WOW Tech investor CDH Investments staying on board as a minority investor alongside Lovehoney co-founders Neal Slateford and Richard Longhurst.
- The companies together will be known as the LoveHoney Group and are expected to be profitable with projected sales of more than $400 million in 2021, representing double the combined 2020 volume.
- The combined group will be led by WOW Tech CEO Johannes Plettenberg, with each company's current management teams remaining in place.
- Lovehoney Group will operate in North America, Europe, and Asia.
- The merger also includes Amorana, the fast-growing Swiss sexual well-being retailer acquired by Lovehoney in September 2020.
- The company is also looking to leverage the scale of the merger to make acquisitions.
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