L Brands Inc. said Thursday it will sell a controlling stake in its Victoria's Secret unit to investment firm Sycamore Partners, valuing the lingerie brand at $1.1 billion (¥123 billion), as it focuses on its core Bath & Body Works brand.

The private equity firm will own 55 percent of Victoria's Secret, the world's best known specialty retailer for lingerie, while L Brands will keep a 45 percent stake. The Columbus, Ohio-based company's Bath & Body Works, which sells soaps and home fragrances, will be run as a standalone company.

Chief Executive Leslie Wexner, who bought Victoria's Secret in 1982 and shaped its image by hiring supermodels to wear jewel encrusted bras and wings at its annual fashion shows, will step down and hand over to Bath & Body Works executive Andrew Meslow.