Beate Uhse Buys Playhouse Group

FLENSBERG, Germany — Euro retailer Beate Uhse AG has announced that it has taken over Holland-based wholesaler Playhouse Group, according to European trade journal Erotic Trade Only. Beate Uhse’s customer base will be increased by Playhouse’s 2,400 trade accounts in 42 countries.

"This acquisition is of especially great strategic significance for our group," Beate Uhse COO Serge van der Hooft said. "It will open up entirely new opportunities for marketing products, especially via new media channels. We believe the future is clearly to be found in the digitalization of erotica."

Playhouse is one of Europe’s leading wholesalers of films, sex toys, lingerie and wellness products, with its own line of sex toys, including around 600 products, and ownership of 8,000 film titles. The company had a turnover of around $16.32 million in 2008. Playhouse sells its products through the traditional retail supply chain and Internet platforms as well as new media channels such as IPTV, VOD and mobile value-added services.

Playhouse has been co-operating with Scala, the wholesale arm of Beate Uhse, for the last six months.

Playhouse shareholders Walter Kroes and Bert Ruzette will be integrated into Beate Uhse management, with Kroes joining the wholesale business as second managing director, and Ruzette responsible for the new media division and for Beate Uhse Licensing BV, the recently founded film rights marketing subsidiary.

Kroes and Ruzette will receive an undisclosed cash payment and 7 million shares in Beate Uhse AG, which are to be issued at a nominal value of $1.25 per share within the framework of a capital increase undertaken to the exclusion of public subscription rights. They have agreed not to dispose of these shares for at least five years.