Victoria’s Secret owner L Brands said Monday that it had called off a deal with private equity firm Sycamore Partners to take the retailer private, just three months after the two companies reached a $525 million agreement.
“As part of L Brands’ strategy, the company remains committed to establishing Bath & Body Works as a pure-play public company,” and is preparing for Victoria’s Secret to operate as a separate company, L Brands said in a news release.
The private equity firm informed L Brands (LB) of its decision to pull out of the deal Wednesday, and it filed a lawsuit in Delaware court to validate the termination of the agreement. The shocking news sent L Brands (LB)’ stock plunging 25%.
In mid-March, L Brands temporarily closed its retail stores, including Victoria’s Secret and Bath and Body Works, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Sycamore Partners argues those changes were in violation of the transaction, according to the Wall Street Journal.
L Brands and Sycamore Partners came to an agreement to split control of Victoria’s Secret in February. The private equity firm was buying a 55% stake, while L Brands would retain control of the remaining 45%. Victoria’s Secret was set to be spun off into a fully private company.
Leslie Wexner, the 82-year-old billionaire that has run L Brands for several decades, was set to leave his position as CEO and chairman as part of the transaction.