Major Japanese lingerie maker Wacoal has bought up smaller rival mail order underwear brand Peach John.

Wacoal, holding 45% of Peach John's shares previously, now takes full control of Peach John Co through an equity swap.

Wacoal, with its strong reputation for quality, is the leading lingerie brand in Japan and is found in almost every department store in Japan. Wacoal Holdings and Peach John plan to launch new products within the next six months while maintaining the current management team.

Peach John was started by a mother of four in 1994 as a small mail-order company importing American lingerie with her now ex-husband. 

The brand posted profits of US$8m last year by focusing on the younger end of the market which prompted the interest of market leader Wacoal. The new owners say they will not be changing the brand's raunchy image for now.

By Michael Fitzpatrick.