Billionaire Mike Ashley has reportedly placed a £27.5 million bid to acquire luxury lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur.
Ashley hopes to retain the brand’s 111 stores and to sell the products in his USC stores in an effort to move it further upmarket, The Times reported.
Ashley’s brand portfolio includes Sports Direct and will face up against four other firms looking to snap up the lingerie retailer, according to the newspaper.
French womenswear brand Etam and private equity firms Lion Capital and Terra Firma Capital Partners are also believed to be seeking to acquire Agent Provocateur.
It is expected that current majority stake holder 3i will make a decision on the preferred bidder soon.
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.