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Lululemon founder sells half his stake to private equity firm Advent International


New York -- Lululemon Athletica Inc.’s founder, Dennis "Chip" Wilson, reached an agreement to sell half his stake in the women's yoga-wear company to Advent International of Boston for $845 million. The deal will give Advent, which owned shares of Lululemon from 2005 to 2009 and was one of the company's early venture capital backers, 20.1 million shares, or 13.9% of the company (Lululemon went public in 2009). It also gives Advent two seats on the board, including Advent's managing partner David Mussafer, who will become co-chairman of the retailer. Mussafer also sits on boards of Charlotte Russe and Five Below.

Wilson had stepped down as chairman of Lululemon in May, after making widely publicized comments that seemed to put some of the blame for the company's ill-fitting yoga pants on overweight women. He recently tried to vote the company’s outside chairman and another director off the board but was outvoted by other shareholders. Industry analysts said the deal with Advent lifts — at least for now — the prospect of a hostile buyout attempt or fight for control of the board. It could also dilute the influence of Wilson.

“I look forward to working with the board of directors to strengthen the company’s foundation, drive innovation, and accelerate sustainable and controlled global expansion," said Laurent Potdevin, CEO. "By leveraging our design-led roots and providing an exceptional guest experience, we will continue to offer our guests with the high-quality, technical products they know and love as we create value for our shareholders.”

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