L Brands' Victoria's Secret reportedly back in sale talks targeting higher valuation

Shoppers stand in line as they wait for a Victoria’s Secret store to open on Black Friday, at the Tysons Corner Center, in Tysons, Virginia, November 27, 2020.

Hannah McKay | Reuters

L Brands is back in sale talks with potential buyers for its Victoria’s Secret lingerie brand, according to a new report, where it is seeking possibly more than double the $1.1 billion valuation that it had roughly one year ago when a prior deal fell apart.

Hinging on Victoria’s Secret’s recent sales momentum, the company could now target a valuation of at least $2 billion to $3 billion in a potential sale, Bloomberg reported Friday, citing people familiar with the private negotiations.

A representative from L Brands, which also owns Bath & Body Works, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Sycamore Partners sued L Brands last April, to terminate a deal that would have given the private equity firm 55% control of the lingerie chain, for around $525 million. It argued that L Brands had violated the terms of their agreement, when it failed to pay rent and furloughed workers during the Covid pandemic. L Brands averted a legal battle by agreeing to call off the deal.

Since the holidays, L Brands’ management team has called out growing momentum at the lingerie chain. The company has already boosted its profit outlook for the first quarter twice, citing heightened shopper demand at Victoria’s Secret.

It named Martin Waters as CEO of Victoria’s Secret last November, effective immediately. He succeeded John Mehas, who had only been in the role for about two years.

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Former Chairman Les Wexner, who has been associated with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, also gave up his chair seat in February 2020. Wexner and his wife, who are both on the company’s board, will not be up for reelection at an upcoming annual shareholders meeting, either.

L Brands has said it anticipates completing either a sale or a spinoff of Victoria’s Secret by August.

L Brands shares were up more than 1% on Friday morning. The stock has risen over 75% year to date. The company has a market cap of more than $18.5 billion.

Read the full report from Bloomberg here.



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