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Lululemon founder sells half his stake for $845m

Dennis J. “Chip” Wilson.

REUTERS/file

Dennis J. “Chip” Wilson.

Lululemon Athletica Inc. founder Dennis J. “Chip” Wilson has agreed to sell half his stake in the popular yoga-wear company to one of its early venture capital backers, Advent International of Boston, for $845 million.

Under the deal, Advent will acquire 13.9 percent of a company it helped finance in 2005. Lululemon, based in Vancouver, went public in 2009 and delivered a large return to Advent.

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Wilson had stepped down as chairman of Lululemon in May, after making controversial comments blaming overweight women for the company’s malfunctioning yoga pants. He recently tried to vote the company’s outside chairman and another director off the board but was outvoted by other shareholders.

Two Advent partners will join the Lululemon board, including managing partner David Mussafer, who will become co-chairman of the company. He was previously a director there from 2005 to 2010.

As part of the stock sale, the parties said they would “engage an independent expert to evaluate and make recommendations regarding the lululemon Board’s committees, policies and procedures.’’

Shares of Lululemon have fallen 45 percent in the past year. On Thursday they closed at $39.03, down 2.4 percent, before news of the stock sale was announced.

Beth Healy can be reached at beth.healy@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @HealyBeth.
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