Lender Barclays could take over Agent Provocateur as bids fail to materialise
Under-performing lingerie chain Agent Provocateur could end up being acquired by its lender Barclays as private equity owner 3i struggles to attract bids for the business that are higher than its £30m debt load.
It is believed to have received some offers so far but none that would cover the debt built up after 3i said it had seen “inconsistent execution of a recent store expansion programme.”
Events have moved fast for the brand in recent months after 3i’s half-year earnings report in November revealed that it had pumped an extra £4m into Agent Provocateur and had uncovered accounting issues.
Then last month its chairman was replaced and the parent company wrote-down the firm’s value by £39m, also calling in restructuring experts to prepare the business for a possible sale.
The latest news about its struggles came in the Sunday Times at the weekend with the newspaper saying Barclays is on alert to take control of the business that 3i acquired for £60m a decade ago. Barclays is likely to sell it on quickly. Other potential buyers include Alteri Investments and Boux Avenue owner Theo Paphitis.
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