Agent Provocateur's Fall 2016 Campaign

LONDON — The ailing luxury lingerie brand Agent Provocateur has found a new owner in Four Holdings, the London-based fashion distribution and retail company.

Alix Partners, which had been hunting for buyers for the brand owned by private equity firm 3i, said Agent Provocateur was placed into administration, or bankruptcy protection, shortly before the sale.

“Alix Partners can confirm that it has today been appointed administrator over luxury lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur. On appointment, we immediately effected a sale of the business and assets of the company to Four Holdings.”

Peter Saville, a managing director and retail restructuring lead at Alix Partners thanks the “staff and stakeholders for their support during this process and we wish the business and its new owners all the best for the future.” Alix Partners specializes in winding companies down and finding owners for troubled companies.

As reported earlier this week, a sale was imminent, with an industry source confirming that Agent Provocateur would most likely be put into what is known in the U.K. as “pre-pack administration,” or bankruptcy protection.

3i, which acquired a majority stake in Agent Provocateur in 2007, has over the past year been grappling with accounting irregularities that made Agent Provocateur appear more successful than it was. Late last year, 3i began its search for a buyer, with help from the new chief executive officer Fabrizio Malverdi.

Earlier in 2016, 3i confirmed it would invest a further 4 million pounds, or $5.4 million, in the brand in the quarter ending Sept. 30, and wrote down the value of its stake in the company by 39 million pounds, or $53 million, in the first half.

According to industry sources, Malverdi will be named ceo of the Italian brand Brioni once he exits Agent Provocateur.

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