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Lululemon Founder Chip Wilson Sells Half His Shares

It looks like he's not trying to buy back the company after all.

Just last month, reports surfaced that Lululemon founder and former chairman Chip Wilson was interested in buying back the company. Now the yoga retailer is reporting that Wilson has sold off approximately 50 percent of his ownership in the activewear brand to the private equity firm Advent International. That's a sum of $845 million.

This isn't Advent's first time working with Lululemon: Back in 2005, the firm invested in the Canadian company, ultimately exiting in 2009. The handoff, which was approved by Lululemon's board of directors, gives Advent 13.85 percent of the company's shares and two seats on its board of directors for Advent's managing partner and director David Mussafer and Steven Collins, both of whom have served on Lululemon's board before. That ups the board's count from 10 to 12 members.

"The lululemon Board is pleased that Chip and Advent are partnering in this transaction," Lululemon chairman Michael Casey said in a release Thursday.

And no wonder: If Wilson was in fact planning that buyout, this diffuses the possibility of a takeover attempt while bringing on board someone the company has worked with previously. Given that Wilson hasn't been shy about voicing his displeasure with the makeup of Lululemon's board, his reduced equity in the company might be a relief as well.

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