Private equity firm Sycamore Partners has taken a controlling 51 percent stake in Mast Global Fashions, the third-party apparel sourcing division of Limited Brands Inc., which will now operate as a stand-alone firm.

This story first appeared in the November 4, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Limited will retain 49 percent of Mast Global, which is one of the three largest sourcing firms in the world. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Limited will continue to retain a 100 percent interest in its separate sourcing operation for intimate apparel and the personal care/beauty businesses.

James Schwartz, who has been with Mast Global for more than 28 years, will be the new entity’s president and chief executive officer.

Mast Global, which began operations in 1970, has more than 3,500 employees in 12 countries. It has its U.S. headquarters in Columbus, Ohio, and its Asian headquarters at Kowloon Bay, in Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Leslie H. Wexner, chairman and chief executive officer of Limited Brands, said that the two firms will work on expanding the sourcing business, and that the change will enable “our Limited Brands team to continue our focus on our strategic priorities — growing our intimate apparel, beauty and personal care retail brands.”

Peter Morrow, managing director at Sycamore, said, “This is exactly the kind of business that Sycamore is looking to invest in — experienced leadership, a proven track record of success, and strong growth potential.”

Separately, Stefan Kaluzny, also a managing director at Sycamore, has resigned his position as director and chairman of the Express board. He is succeeded by Michael Weiss, Express’ president and chief executive officer.

Sycamore is a private equity firm in New York. In August it made headlines when it said in a regulatory filing it had taken a 9.9 percent stake in specialty chain The Talbots Inc.

Kaluzny and Morrow founded Sycamore earlier this year. Both previously were at Golden Gate Capital, and have extensive experience in the retail space.