Report: Lululemon's Founder Wants to Buy Back the Company

More struggles for the struggling retailer.
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Dhani Mau
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More struggles for the struggling retailer.
Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Things continue to be increasingly complicated and embattled in the world of Lululemon.

The days when the most controversial thing about the company was its customers' cult-like obsession with it are long gone. The trouble started with the see-through yoga pants scandal of 2013, which cost the retailer tens of millions of dollars, and led to the stepping-down of founder Chip Wilson from his role as chairman. (He's the one, you may recall, who said that "some bodies don't work" for Lululemon's yoga pants).

Wilson is still a director at the company, and a new report suggests that he'd like a little more control. According to the Wall Street Journal, Wilson's advisers are in talks with private equity firms in the interest of pursuing a buyout of the public company.

Wilson, Lululemon's largest shareholder, has not been shy about expressing his disapproval of the company's board. In June, he issued a statement saying he voted against the re-election of chairman Michael Casey (his replacement) and director RoAnn Costin, reasoning that more change was needed. "While I am excited about the new management team that I helped put in place, I am concerned that the board is not aligned with the core values of product and innovation on which Lululemon was founded and on which the company thrived," he said at the time.

WSJ points out that a buyout wouldn't be easy: Given the company's $6 billion market capitalization, it would certainly be expensive, though its shares have fallen about 30 percent in value this year.

A rep for Wilson told Reuters that they have nothing to announce yet, while a rep for Lululemon has not responded to our request for comment.