3i invests in Agent Provocateur

15 Nov 2007

3i, Europe’s leading mid-market private equity company, and funds managed by 3i have signed an agreement to acquire Agent Provocateur, the luxury brand lingerie retailer.

Agent Provocateur was founded in 1994 by Joseph Corré and Serena Rees and has firmly established itself as a leading player in the luxury brand lingerie market.  The brand is known for its edgy, yet fun, image and has consistently been voted one of the UK’s top 10 cool brands.  Today, Agent Provocateur products can be found across 14 countries, including the USA, Europe and the Middle East.  In addition to lingerie, it has launched highly successful fragrances and has recently added shoes to its existing product ranges.  The company also has a fast growing e-commerce business.

3i’s funding will allow Agent Provocateur to pursue further growth opportunities.  Whilst both the founders will continue to be shareholders in the business, Serena Rees has decided she wishes to pursue new opportunities.  Joseph Corré will be staying with the business as Creative Director.

3i has introduced Stuart Rose as Chairman.  Stuart has gained extensive experience of international retailing, franchising and brand development from his time at The Body Shop, where he held the positions of Deputy Chairman and Managing Director.  Amongst his current activities, Stuart is Chairman of The Hamleys Group, which is fast developing an international presence. 

Jennifer Dunstan, 3i Partner Buyouts, commented: “We are delighted to be investing in such a unique and exciting brand as Agent Provocateur.  The company has a fantastic reputation and is already well established throughout Europe.  We believe there is enormous potential for the business to continue to grow and look forward to using both our retail experience and our global network to help Agent Provocateur achieve this ambition.“

Joseph Corré, Co-founder Agent Provocateur, commented: “This new phase in the development of Agent Provocateur will give us the operational and financial platform to realise the company’s potential so that it takes its rightful position as the world’s most dynamic luxury lingerie brand!”

Serena Rees, Co-founder Agent Provocateur, commented: “From the conception of Agent Provocateur in Soho ’94, we have provoked thought and reaction, we brought lingerie to the forefront of fashion, brought sexuality out into the open and have given sex a sense of luxury.  I am extremely proud of where Agent Provocateur stands today and am hugely excited about the next stage of growth.  The future is bright for Agent Provocateur and 3i.”

Stuart Rose, Chairman Agent Provocateur, commented: “Agent Provocateur is an exceptional company, which over the last 13 years, has built a unique business.  I am looking forward to help develop Agent Provocateur’s position and building its brand across multiple channels.“

About 3i

3i is a world leader in private equity and venture capital.  We focus on Buyouts, Growth Capital, Venture Capital, Infrastructure and Quoted Private Equity (“QPE”) and invest across Europe, the United States and Asia.  Our competitive advantage comes from our international network and the strength and breadth of our business relationships.  These underpin the value that we deliver to our portfolio and to our shareholders. 
www.3i.com

3i Buyouts 
3i’s buyouts business is a leader in the European mid-market.  We lead mid-market buyouts of companies valued at up to around €1bn, using insight from our local knowledge, international connections, and our sector teams.  With over €8bn of funds under management and an existing portfolio of over 60 companies across Europe, 3i Buyouts invests in all sectors, with a particular focus on media, healthcare, consumer, business support services and oil, gas & power.  In 2006, 3i Buyouts raised 3i Eurofund V, which at €5bn, represents the largest fund in Europe dedicated to mid-market buyouts. 

For further information please contact:

Kathryn van der Kroft
email. kathryn.vanderkroft@3i.com
tel.  +44 207 975 3021