Mike Ashley buys lingerie firm Agent Provocateur

Image copyright Reuters

Mike Ashley, owner of Sports Direct has bought the lingerie firm Agent Provocateur after its owner placed it into administration.

Private equity group 3i has owned the struggling company since 2007.

It's thought the company is being sold to Mr Ashley via a so called pre-pack deal which means the sale of assets were pre-negotiated before an administrator was appointed.

Normally an administrator markets a business after its appointment.

It has been reported that Mr Ashley paid around £25m beating off competition from another private equity firm Lion Capital.

Agent Provocateur was recently been hit by an accounting scandal and expanded its retail network as luxury sales softened.

Sports Direct's profits have also suffered after criticism of work practises at it Derbyshire warehouse.

Image copyright PA

Mr Ashley appears keen to target more upmarket fashion retail, avoiding over reliance on the cheaper end of the High Street.

In February he acquired a 11% stake in fashion chain French Connection in February and owns a controlling stake in the premium retailer Flannels among other interests.

Agent Provocateur was founded in 1994 by Joseph Corré and his wife Serena Rees.

Mr Corré is the son of fashion doyenne, Vivienne Westwood and the former manager of the Sex Pistols Malcolm McLaren.


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