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Blackstone Snags Spanx Majority Ownership

Blackstone Inc. is buying a majority stake in women’s shapewear company Spanx Inc. in a move that puts Spanx’s value at $1.2 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Spanx Founder Sara Blakely will have a significant stake in the company as executive chairwoman when the acquisition is finalized, according to the Journal, and she will continue to oversee operations of the 21-year-old brand she started with $5,000 earned from selling fax machines in her hometown.

Spanx has added other forms of apparel and activewear to its shapewear offering and Blakely told WSJ the Blackstone deal allows the company to expand its product line even more and push into more markets around the world.

“People have been asking me for 20 years when I will sell Spanx, and for 20 years I have said I’ll just know,” Blakely told WSJ. “I operate very much based on instinct.”

Blakely worked with an all-female deal team at Blackstone, led by Managing Director Ann Chung, according to the WSJ report. The lawyers who hammered out the agreement also were women, as were the bankers from JPMorgan Chase & Co. The new company will have an all-women board.

Blackstone is acquiring Spanx at a time when two-thirds of its sales are made on its website. Chung expects to crank up the marketing machine for Spanx, which didn’t advertise for the first 16 years of its existence.

Earlier this year, Blackstone invested in Bumble Inc., run by Whitney Wolfe Herd, as it went public, and it also backed Reese Witherspoon’s media company, Hello Sunshine, in a deal announced in August.

Related: Gopuff Close To Closing On $1B In Funding, Report Says

Blackstone Group is no stranger to investing in companies with valuations above the $1 billion mark. The company was part of the $1 billion funding round by delivery startup Gopuff in July, an effort that pushed its value into the $15 billion range, up from $8.9 billion in March.

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