Victoria’s Secret Might Have New Ownership Before Valentine’s Day

  • L Brands could announce a deal to sell Victoria's Secret to Sycamore Partners this week, CNBC reported.
  • The lingerie label's parent company has faced criticism over CEO Les Wexner's close ties to Jeffrey Epstein.
  • Victoria's Secret is also under fire after a New York Times exposé described a sexist, bullying culture in the company.

L Brands is close to striking a deal to sell Victoria's Secret to private-equity firm Sycamore Partners, CNBC reported on Sunday.
The parent company of the troubled lingerie label could announce a transaction this week, CNBC said, citing people familiar with the matter. New York-based Sycamore, which manages around $10 billion in assets, specializes in extracting value from brick-and-mortar retailers such as Staples, Talbots, and Nine West.
L Brands stock climbed 6% in pre-market trading on Monday. L Brands and Sycamore didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

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News of the impending deal comes after the Wall Street Journal reported last month that the pair were in talks, and L Brands CEO Les Wexner — the S&P 500's longest-serving CEO — was considering stepping down. Wexner is battling criticism over his close relationship with convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, who managed his fortune for around 20 years.

Victoria's Secret is also under fire after a recent New York Times exposé, which described a culture of sexism and bullying and included claims of inappropriate conduct by former marketing chief Ed Razek. More than 100 models signed an open letter to Victoria's Secret boss John Mehas last week, which accused Razek and Wexner of fostering a misogynistic culture.

Critics say the lingerie giant's focus on sexiness and supermodels no longer appeals to many consumers, who favor more inclusive, diverse brands such as Aerie, owned by American Eagle Outfitters. The brand's flagging popularity can be seen in its sales, which dropped 7% last quarter and were flat at about $7.4 billion last financial year.

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