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Victoria’s Secret to Go Private: Report

L Brands reportedly is close to a deal to sell control of Victoria’s Secret to Sycamore Partners in a deal worth a little over $1 billion.

L Brands  (LB) - Get Free Report is in near an agreement to sell Victoria’s Secret to a private-equity firm according to a story in the Wall Street Journal citing people familiar with the matter.

The Journal report said Sycamore Partners would buy 55% of Victoria’s Secret, while L Brands keeps a 45% stake in the private company.

The report also said Leslie Wexner will step down as CEO and chairman, but will remain on the L Brands board and retain stakes in the companies.

Just last week, L Brands stock jumped on earlier media reports about the deal, adding 2.1%. Bloomberg News reported that MKM analyst Roxane Meyer wrote Victoria's Secret could fetch anywhere from $2 billion to $3.4 billion, and L Brands could use the cash to pay down its nearly $5.5 billion debt.

A sale of Victoria's Secret would leave L Brands with the much better-performing Bath & Body Works as its flagship brand. The retailer's sales have risen steadily, so that it now accounts for half of L Brands' revenue, up from 15% previously, according to analysts at Jefferies.

Victoria's Secret has been criticized for sticking too long with its emphasis on sexy lingerie, even as market and consumer trends shifted toward an emphasis on comfort.