Playboy is returning to the public market in a very 2020 fashion. The iconic lifestyle brand is merging with special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) Mountain Crest Acquisition Corp, which is expected to continue trading on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol PLBY.

Playboy's magazine ceased publication early in the pandemic after 66 years in print. Now the brand best known for its sexy photo spreads is shifting its focus onto four main customer categories: sexual wellness, apparel and accessories, gaming and lifestyle, and beauty and grooming, CEO Ben Kohn told Cheddar.

"Even in the face of COVID this year, we've been able to grow EBITDA over 100 percent and revenue over 68 percent, and I expect that to accelerate going into 2021," he said. 

The SPAC transaction, he said, "will allow us to not only accelerate our organic growth but take advantage of the M&A opportunities that we have in front of us."

Part of this growth has come from a greater reliance on direct-to-consumer products. 

"There's definitely been a shift to direct-to-consumer," he said. "About 50 percent of our revenue today is direct-to-consumer, and that will continue to grow going forward.

Kohn touted Playboy's portfolio of both digital and consumer products, with casino-style gaming, in particular, serving a crucial role under the company's new business model. 

Playboy also has its sights on the emerging cannabis market, from CBD products to marijuana products geared toward sexual health and pleasure. 

"If THC does become legal in the United States, we have developed certain strains to enhance your sex life that we will launch," Kohn said.  

As part of the transaction, Mountain Crest has signed a definitive purchase agreement to sell investors $50 million worth of common stock at $10 per share.

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