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L Brands selling Victoria's Secret to private-equity firm

L Brands confirmed CEO Les Wexner, who has run the company for 5 decades, will step down once the Victoria's Secret sale is finalized.
Credit: AP
FILE- In this April 4, 2018, file photo, shoppers walk past the Victoria's Secret store on Broadway in the Soho neighborhood of New York.

Victoria's Secret, beset by falling sales and uncomfortable questions about its billionaire founder who has run the company for five decades, is being sold. 

The company's owner, L Brands, said Thursday that the private-equity firm Sycamore Brands will buy 55% of Victoria's Secret for about $525 million. 

The Columbus, Ohio company will keep the remaining 45% stake. 

Additionally, Bath & Body Works, will become a standalone public. 

Shares of the parent, L Brands, slid 14.6% in premarket trading. The selling price signifies a marked decline for a brand with hundreds of stores that booked about $7 billion in revenue last year.  

Once the deal is finalized, L Brands CEO Leslie H. Wexner will step down and become Chairman Emeritus. Recently Wexner has been scrutinized for his ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Reports started circulating last month that Wexner was considering stepping down as CEO, to which an L Brands spokesperson told TEGNA's Columbus station 10TV at the time, “We would not comment on any such rumors.” 

Wexner is the longest-serving CEO of an S&P 500 company, having served as CEO for more than five decades.

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“We believe the separation of Victoria’s Secret Lingerie, Victoria’s Secret Beauty and PINK into a privately held company provides the best path to restoring these businesses to their historic levels of profitability and growth,” Wexner said in a statement. “Sycamore, which has deep experience in the retail industry and a superior track record of success, will bring a fresh perspective and greater focus to the business.”

Credit: AP
FILE - This Sept. 19, 2014 file photo shows retail mogul Leslie Wexner, at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.