Lingerie company Bendon, which owns the distribution rights of brands including Elle MacPherson Intimates and Stella McCartney, has merged with Auzzie company Pleasure State.
Expat millionaire and former owner Eric Watson has said that his company Cullen Investments will continue to hold a significant stake in the business post-merger, but that he will no longer be involved in the strategic direction of the new concern.
The new group will be headed up by chief executive Justin Davis-Rice and supported by non-executive chairman Bill Wavish, former chairman of department store Myer.
Wavish said: “Bendon is an iconic New Zealand company with a proud heritage which has firmly established itself in Australia. I look forward to being part of the next phase of growth.”
Cullen Investments executive chairman Eric Watson added: “I am thrilled Bill has agreed to join the board, Bill’s extensive corporate and retail experience will be invaluable in the next phase of Bendon’s growth.”
Davis-Rice helped set up Pleasure State lingerie in 2004 with ex-Bendon designer Kay Cohen and returned to the business as director last year.
Bendon, which was valued in the deal at $58.7m, has dedicated operations in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand, with distribution throughout Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Scandinavia, Germany, Greece and the Gulf States. Its labels include Bendon, Bendon Man, Bendon Sport,Fayreform, DimitySO, Elle Macpherson Intimates,Macpherson Men, Boudoir, Obsidian, Stella McCartney Lingerie, Hey Sister and Hickory.
The company’s products are stocked by the likes of Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and the House of Fraser in the United Kingdom; Saks, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus in the United States; Holt Renfrew in Canada; Myer and David Jones in Australia; and Farmers in New Zealand.