Shapewear brand Spanx has taken its first outside funding 21 years after its founding, with global investment firm Blackstone set to take a majority stake in the company at a valuation of $1.2 billion.
The acquisition will enable Spanx to accelerate its digital transformation and grow its global footprint. Founder Sara Blakely told CNBC that the company also was making a big push into other apparel categories, including denim, and wants to continue expanding its direct-to-consumer sales, which already account for 70% of the company’s business.
Blakely will maintain a significant equity stake in the business and continue to oversee daily operations along with the company’s existing senior management team. Following the acquisition Blakely will become Executive Chairwoman, and the company intends to create an all-female Spanx board of directors.
“This is a really important moment in time for female entrepreneurs,” Blakely said in a statement. “I started this company with no business experience and very little money, but I cared the most about the customer, and that gave me the courage to launch the company. I am as excited today for the future of Spanx as I was when I started it 21 years ago. Now together with Blackstone, we will have even more opportunity to further our mission of making the world a better place one butt at a time.”
The deal was shepherded by an all-female investment team at Blackstone led by Ann Chung, Global Head of Consumer for Blackstone Growth. Blackstone will make its investment in Spanx through its Blackstone Growth and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities businesses.