Playboy Enterprises Inc., the storied men’s magazine publisher turned prolific brand licensor, will return to the public markets after nearly a decade through a special-purpose acquisition company.

Playboy said Thursday it will merge with Mountain Crest Acquisition Corp., which will then take the Playboy name and trade under the symbol PLBY. The equity purchase price is US$239 million, with Mountain Crest also assuming US$142 million in Playboy debt, according to the company’s statement.

In a signal of Playboy’s transformation, that statement doesn’t once include the word magazine. The company, founded by the late Hugh Hefner in 1953, published the final regularly scheduled print issue of what had become a quarterly publication this past spring.

While it still publishes articles and pictorials online, Playboy now mainly bills itself as a consumer-products company for what it calls the Pleasure Lifestyle, in the categories of sexual wellness; style and apparel; gaming and lifestyle; and beauty and grooming.

The company says it has US$3 billion in consumer spending against the Playboy brand in 180 countries, with cash flows of more than US$400 million contracted through 2029.

Playboy is joining a wave of companies including DraftKings Inc., potato-chip maker Utz Quality Foods and Opendoor that are foregoing traditional IPOs and going public by merging with blank-check companies instead. It’s usually a faster route to the public markets, with less scrutiny.Blank-check companies are hungry for more deals, too, after raising record sums. This year, 115 SPACs have raised more than $43 billion in initial public offerings on U.S. exchanges, more than half the total raised by SPACs in all previous years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Mountain Crest deal also includes the sale of US$50 million in common stock at US$10 a share. Playboy Chief Executive Officer Ben Kohn will continue to lead the company.

Hefner took Playboy private in 2011.