What happened

Shares of Victoria's Secret owner L Brands (NYSE:LB) are soaring on angel wings, up 13.3% as of 11 a.m. EST after The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that CEO Leslie Wexner is in talks to sell Victoria's Secret, retire from his post as L Brands' boss, or both.  

Woman in angels wings sits atop a building thinking

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

L Brands stock and the S&P 500 have moved in opposite directions over the past year, with the S&P up 24% and L Brands stock down 26%. Sales are down, and profits along with them. For these reasons if no other, investors may be thinking that a change of management is in order.

Additionally, the Journal points out that activist investors including Barington Capital Group have been pushing L Brands to consider splitting off its fast growing Bath & Body Works consumer products brand from the weaker Pink and Victoria's Secret, probably by spinning off and selling the latter.

Last year, sales at the flagship Victoria's Secret business declined a fraction of a percent, while Bath & Body enjoyed nearly 12% sales growth. VS profits fell by roughly half, while Bath & Body operating profit was up 13% -- even better than sales growth.

Now what

Selling off VS (and maybe also Pink, a lingerie brand targeting teens and tweens) would instantly diminish L Brands' sales, but just as quickly lift its profit margin and provide a big cash influx that could be reinvested in growing the brand that's actually growing. It would, however, also deprive L Brands of any benefit that a buyer might reap from turning around the iconic Victoria's Secret.

Judging from today's price action, though, it looks like investors would be OK with that.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.