Les Wexner has sold control of the troubled Victoria’s Secret.
As L Brands is crumbling under a $5.5 billion debt pile and plunging sales, Les Wexner, once the longest-serving CEO of an S&P 500 company (now, Warren Buffett, the leader of Berkshire Hathaway), is selling control of Victoria’s Secret after almost six decades at the helm.
Wexner bought Victoria’s Secret in 1982 for $1m and built it into the largest lingerie retailer in the US, per The Guardian. By the 1990s it had sales of more than $1bn and its famous – or infamous – annual fashion show, but as sales faltered from 2015 onwards, it seems as the troubled lingerie company is not expecting very much progress. The selling price for Victoria’s Secret signifies a marked decline for a brand with hundreds of stores that booked about $7 billion in revenue last year.
On his personal account, the 82-year old American businessman is dealing with his own troubles, including questions over his ties to the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, who was indicted on sex-trafficking charges. Through a statement, he said the deal will provide the best path to restoring Victoria’s Secret’s businesses to their ’’historical levels of profitability and growth.″ The deal will also allow the company to reduce debt and Sycamore will bring a “fresh perspective and greater focus to the business, ” he said.
AP News reported that the company’s owner, L Brands, said February 20th that the private-equity firm Sycamore Partners will buy 55% of Victoria’s Secret for about $525 million. The Columbus, Ohio, company will keep the remaining 45% stake. After the sale, L Brands will be left with its Bath & Body Works chain and Victoria’s Secret will become a private company.
According to Business Insider, here’s what the list of longest-tenured S&P 500 CEOs and how long they’ve held the job will look like when Wexner is officially out at L Brands, according data from The Conference Board.
- Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, 50 years.
- Alan B. Miller, Universal Health Services, 42 years.
- James Herbert, First Republic Bank, 34 years.
- Harold Max Messmer, Jr., Robert Half, 32 years.
- Richard Fain, Royal Caribbean Cruises, 31 years.
- Leonard Schleifer, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, 31 years.