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Victoria’s Secret takes minority stake in women-founded swimwear brand

Victoria’s Secret has made an $18 million investment in Frankies Bikinis.

Victoria’s Secret & Co. is diving deeper into the fast-growing swimwear category.

The company has acquired a minority interest in Frankies Bikinis, a women-founded and women-led digitally native beachwear and lifestyle brand based in Venice, California. The $18 million investment is not expected to have a material impact on Victoria’s Secret first-quarter outlook.

Frankies Bikinis was founded in 2012 by then 17-year-old Francesca Aiello and her mother, Mimi Aiello. The brand is known for its inclusive, and trend-setting aesthetic and laid-back Malibu vibe. In evolved into has into a beach lifestyle brand, with expanding product offerings that include ready-to-wear clothing, footwear, beauty and even men’s swimwear.

Victoria’s Secret eliminated swimwear from its offerings in spring 2016. It re-entered the category online in 2019, and expanded it to stores in 2021. According to industry estimates, the global swimwear market will grow to about $21.4 billion by 2025, up from $16 billion-plus in 2020.

“We are excited to be partnering with Francesca and the team at Frankies Bikinis,” said Victoria’s Secret CEO Martin Waters. “She has created an aspirational beachwear brand and trend leader in the swimwear category, with room to grow and extend into new categories and attract new customers in the direct-to-consumer channel. Our investment in Frankies Bikinis is a continuation of our efforts to expand partnerships with culturally relevant brands founded by women entrepreneurs.”

Kegler Brown Hill & Ritter served as legal advisor for Victoria’s Secret. The Sage Group served as exclusive financial advisor to Frankies Bikinis and Ritholz Levy Fields served as legal advisor.

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