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Sports Direct’s Mike Ashley buys Agent Provocateur out of administration

Agent Provocateur, the high-end lingerie chain popular with celebrities, entered administration on Thursday and was immediately snapped up by Mike Ashley, owner of discount retailer Sports Direct.

AlixPartners, who had been appointed to manage the restructuring and administration, said in a short statement that it had sold the group to Four Holdings, Mr Ashley’s investment vehicle, but declined to reveal the terms of the deal.

“We would like to thank all the staff and stakeholders for their support during this process and we wish the business and its new owners all the best for future,” said Peter Saville, AlixPartners’ retail restructuring lead.

Earlier on Thursday, the Financial Times had reported that Sports Direct would likely pay between £25m to £30m for the company which up until now had been owned by private equity group 3i.

3i last November wrote down the value of its 80 per cent stake in the group by £39m.

Agent Provocateur was founded in 1994 by Joe Corré, the son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and quickly grew into a global brand popular with celebrities including the Kardashians. It operates more than 100 stores but has for years been suffering weak sales hit by a slow-down in luxury high street spending.

3i also blamed accounting issues and an inconsistent execution of a store expansion programme, for the chain’s under performance, according to Reuters.

Sports Direct is recovering from its own string of management and governance failures after it was condemned by MPs last year for its treatment of workers, including paying some less than the minimum wage for shifts at its warehouse.

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Read more at independent.co.uk

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