(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). Agent Provocateur may be looking for a buyer. According to several news sources, 3i, the investment company that bought a controlling interest in the U.K. based lingerie firm in 2007, has hired Goldman Sachs to explore the possibility of a sale, and some press reports suggested that the price could go as high as 200 million pounds (approximately $336 million).
Agent Provocateur’s before-tax profits doubled in its most recent fiscal year to 3,797,000 pounds (about $6.4 million at current rates), up from 1,665,000 pounds the year before. Sales rose to 39 million pounds (around $65.6 million), a 24.4% increase from the year before. The rapidly-expanding Agent Provocateur also now lists “boutiques” in 29 countries (some located in department stores and some operated by franchisees). In addition, it wholesales its lingerie to stores worldwide.
But for the sale price to go as high as those early press reports suggest, Agent Provocateur would have to sell for almost 53 times its latest pre-tax annual earnings.
3i explained on its website, “Our consumer team has a wealth of experience of investing in luxury brands and international businesses. We had been following the success of Agent Provocateur for some time and in 2007 3i, and funds managed by 3i, acquired a majority stake in the business alongside management. We have ... helped Agent Provocateur develop its expansion plans. We are actively supporting an international roll-out of stores in key cities, including introducing the management team to potential franchise partners in a number of new geographies.”
According to Bloomberg, 3i’s investment in 2007 valued the company at about 60 million pounds.
Agent Provocateur was co-founded, in 1994, by Joseph Corré, the son of designer Vivienne Westwood, and the first store opened in London. Today there are boutiques in the U.S. in Atlanta, Boston, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Bal Harbour, Coral Gales, New York, San Francisco as well as in Bloomindales in several cities. Other locations around the world listed on the company website include several in the U.K. as well as locations in Germany, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Indonesia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
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