Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Is Working With Goldman Sachs (Report)
UPDATED: The athletic apparel company's former CEO is reportedly working with bankers from the investment group to save the brand.
Lululemon founder Dennis "Chip" Wilson is working with Goldman Sachs in an effort to regain control over the yoga-inspired athletic apparel company, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Wilson, who founded Lululemon in 1998 and served as the brand's CEO until 2005, stepped down as a non-executive chairman in December 2013 after being criticized for making remarks about how Lululemon's yoga pants weren't designed for some women's bodies.
With the bad press and poorly-made pants, the business has been struggling with its sales growth. Lululemon saw sales fall 4% over last year and its stock fall by 4 cents to $40.23 last Friday. The company's shares have lost nearly a third of their value this year.
According to WSJ, Wilson isn't upset with the company's current management (under CEO Laurent Potdevin, formerly of Toms shoes), but instead, "with the strategic direction set by the board."
Recently, Wilson has expressed interest in a new board, writing in a news release that he has "found a palpable imbalance in Board representation, which is heavily weighted towards short-term results at the expense of product, culture and brand and longer-term corporate goals."
"The founder could launch a proxy fight to win additional board seats or partner with a private-equity firm in a buyout, another person familiar with the matter said," reports WSJ. "So far, Mr. Wilson hasn't made any decisions on further steps, said a different person familiar with his thinking who wouldn't elaborate on what is under consideration."
Lululemon's board has sought advice from bankers in response, another source tells WSJ.
Pret-a-Reporter has reached out to Lululemon for comment.