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Spanx valued at $1.2bn as Blackstone buys a majority stake

Lauretta Roberts
21 October 2021

Spanx, the trailblazing shapewear brand founded by entrepreneur Sara Blakely in 2000, has been valued at $1.2 billion after global investment business Blackstone agreed to acquire a majority stake.

Blakely has retained a significant stake in Spanx and will remain with the business, along with its senior management. Upon completion of the deal, she will take on the role of executive chairwoman.

The investment from Blackstone will enable Spanx to further its digital transformation, strengthen its e-commerce channel, expand its global footprint, and further invest in "creating innovative, ground-breaking products" across more categories, it said. The companies also intend to create an all-female board for Spanx.

Spanx revolutionised the shapewear and underwear market for women and paved the way for brands such as Kim Kardashian's Skims and British brand Heist. It was founded by former fax machine salesperson, Blakely, with just $5,000 in savings. She wrote her patent and created the Spanx undergarment in her own home.

Without taking any outside investment, she turned the brand into a global phenomenon, with products across not just shapewear but across ready to wear and activewear as well. Blakely has been named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the world and was featured on the cover of Forbes magazine as the youngest self-made female billionaire. Through her personal foundation, Blakely has given millions of dollars to help elevate other women and in 2013 she signed the Giving Pledge, promising to donate half her wealth to philanthropy.

“This is a really important moment in time for female entrepreneurs,” Blakely said. “I started this company with no business experience and very little money, but I cared the most about the customer, and that gave me the courage to launch the company. At SPANX, we have always put the customer at the centre of what we do. I am as excited today for the future of SPANX as I was when I started it 21 years ago. Now together with Blackstone, we will have even more opportunity to further our mission of making the world a better place… one butt at a time!”

Ann Chung, Global Head of Consumer for Blackstone Growth (BXG), added: “Sara is an iconic businesswoman who bootstrapped SPANX into not only a category creator and household name, but also a symbol of authenticity, confidence building and female empowerment. We’re honored that Sara and her team have placed their trust in Blackstone as their partner of choice to further accelerate SPANX’s digital transformation and growth, and look forward to what the business will achieve with our full set of resources behind it.”

Image: @spanx Instagram.

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