Agent Provocateur sale imminent as bidders narrow to three

Agent Provocateur AW16 Christmas

The private equity owner of Agent Provocateur is reportedly close to securing a buyer, with the number of bidders whittled down to three.

3i, which took control of the company in 2007, is expected to announce the new owner in the coming days.

Lion Capital, the former owner of failed lingerie company La Senza, is thought to be one of the three bidders, alongside French fashion retailer Etam and specialist turnaround group Endless, reports Sky News.

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The news follows an accounting scandal at the retailer, which led Chris Woodhouse to step down as chairman.

Last month, 3i brought in restructuring firm Alix Partners to turn the struggling business around.

The planned overhaul was expected to involve closing around 30% of its 111 stores in 29 countries, and reducing staff by a third in its HQ in London.

But investment bank Rothschild was also brought on board to see if it could find a buyer.

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