Lingerie specialist Van de Velde has taken control of multi-brand lingerie retail chain Intimacy USA, spending US$13.5m on an additional stake in the company.

Intimacy, which has an expected turnover of $38m this year, has grown from three stores in 2007 to a planned 12-14 by the end of 2010.

Until now, founders David and Susan Nethero have held 50.1% of the shares in the company, with the remaining 49.9% taken by Van de Velde.

But now the Belgian company has acquired an additional 35.1% stake, with the Netheros controlling the remaining 15% of the stock, on which Van de Velde has a future option to buy.

The change means that Van de Velde will obtain a majority vote on the board of directors, but the Netheros will stay on to manage the company.

The $13.5m price tag is subject to change, mainly based on future performance of the business.

Van de Velde said Intimacy’s strategic mission remained unchanged: it will continue its expansion across the US, aiming to establish at least 20 stores in major cities, and will continue as a multi-brand chain.

“The last three years have demonstrated that Intimacy and Van de Velde have created a strong alliance,” said Ignace Van Doorselaere, Van de Velde CEO.

“We have every interest in pursuing it, and even reinforcing it.”