Agent Provocateur owner considers sale of high-end lingerie chain

Agent Provocateur is facing being auctioned off after private equity firm 3i , which owns the retailer, hired restructuring firm Alix Partners to turn the struggling business around.

Insiders told The Sunday Times that specialists in distressed companies, such as Alteri Investors and Rutland Partners, are expected to be interested in buying the firm and quoted a retail source as valuing the business at £15m.

3i is considering either selling the entire company or bringing in other investors while it retains a minority stake.

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The news emerged after Chris Woodhouse stepped down as chairman of Agent Provocateur amid an inquiry into “accounting issues”.

The high-end lingerie brand has handed over the reins to Ian Lobley, a partner at 3i Group.

The boardroom changes are understood to have taken place in recent weeks, and come after a difficult trading period for the prominent manufacturer, which 3i acquired in 2007.

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