Lululemon’s founder, advisors considering a buyout

July 3, 2014, 2:17 PM UTC
Lululemon Removes Some Of Its Popular Yoga Pants From Stores For Being Too See Through
A sign is displayed on a Lululemon Athletica store in Pasadena, Calif.
Photograph by Kevork Djansezian—Getty Images

Lululemon Athletica’s (LULU) founder Dennis “Chip” Wilson is sniffing around options to take the company private, people with knowledge of the matter said Wednesday.

Wilson has met with private equity firms, including Leonard Green & Partners, to explore his options, although no deal is currently in the offering, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

The premium required to buy out the $6.3 billion company would be a major roadblock to taking the company private, according to industry insiders. But Wilson’s efforts show he is grasping for control over how the yoga-gear company is run.

Wilson stepped down as CEO in 2005, and then bowed out as chairman in May. He has since been critical of Lululemon’s strategic direction and voted recently against the election of its new chairman and another director.

Wilson’s beef with the board has been ongoing, and nearly six months ago Lululemon talked with bankers about what its options are if Wilson were to sell his 28% stake, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

Buyouts driven by founders that have since left a company have rarely been successful. The former CEO of Best Buy tried and failed such a maneuver in 2012.

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