Private equity firm 3i will hang on to its investment in Agent Provocateur following a strategic review of the brand, Lingerie Insight can confirm.
Earlier reports suggested that the company was sounding out investment banks about conducting an auction of the British brand.
But 3i, which acquired a majority stake in Agent Provocateur in 2007, was advised by Goldman Sachs to hold off from the sale due to the label’s huge growth potential.
Agent Provocateur CEO Garry Hogarth told Lingerie Insight: “3i is the majority shareholder and has invested in the company for seven years, which is quite a long time, so they had Goldman Sachs carry out a strategic review and advise them on whether it’s a right time to exit.
“At the end of the review we were all in agreement that with all the potential that we have it’s really not the right time to sell, so Goldman Sachs advised them to hold off and there was no protest from 3i at all.”
Agent Provocateur plans to open 22 shops around the world this year, including two in the next few weeks – one in New Jersey and one in Manhattan.
Hogarth also sees major growth potential in L’Agent, AP’s diffusion line designed in collaboration with Penélope and Mónica Cruz.
“With L’Agent, we’ve got shops in LA, New York and London and we’ve got plans to open another six or seven this year around the world – in China, Australia, the US and the UK,” he said.
“I think that rather than saying to people that L’Agent and the rest of the business has got potential, we should realise the potential.”
In its most recent financial results, the retailer said that its annual pre-tax profits had grown from £3.8m to £6.2m on sales of £53m in the year ending 29 March 2014.
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH GARRY HOGARTH IN THE JUNE ISSUE OF LINGERIE INSIGHT, OUT NEXT MONTH