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Sara Blakely Is A Billionaire (Again) After Selling A Majority Of Spanx To Blackstone

Monday, October 25, 2021 5:00 AM | Anonymous

Spanx founder Sara Blakely is a billionaire once again, Forbes estimates, following a deal to sell the majority of her shapewear company.

Private equity giant Blackstone announced Wednesday that it has agreed to buy a majority stake in the shapewear pioneer, in a deal that values the company at $1.2 billion. Blakely will retain “a significant equity stake” in the company she bootstrapped, according to Blackstone. The investment propels her net worth back over the $1 billion threshold after a rocky pandemic retail landscape and heightened competition hindered Spanx’s growth—and dragged Blakely’s billion-dollar fortune down to an estimated $750 million in June.

“People have asked me for 20 years, ‘When will you sell Spanx?’ And for 20 years I would say…‘I’ll just know.’ Well that day is today,” Blakely, who will become Spanx’s executive chair, wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday. Blakely praised the all-female team she worked with at Blackstone and spelled out her new role: “I will remain a significant shareholder and continue to help the business fulfill its greatest potential, as well as continue to fulfill my greatest passion—elevating women.”

The companies aren’t sharing the size of the stake Blakely will retain in the shapewear firm she founded 21 years ago, which could be as high as 49% given Blackstone's majority ownership. Blakely, 50, has held Spanx closely over the years, declining to accept outside funding until now. But after factoring in Wednesday’s deal and Blakely's other assets—which include a small stake in the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and nearly $40 million worth of real estate—Forbes estimates her net worth to be $1.2 billion as a result of the deal. A spokesperson for Spanx did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

In a story that’s now been told and retold, Spanx came to life as a way for Blakely to deal with an irritating problem. Unable to find suitable undergarments to wear under cream-colored pants for a party, Blakely cut the feet off her control top pantyhouse and wore them underneath...but they rolled up on her all night long. “I remember thinking, ‘I’ve got to figure out how to make this.’ I’d never worked in fashion or retail. I just needed an undergarment that didn’t exist,” Blakely once told Forbes.

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