Sports Direct International plc/Agent Provocateur

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Agent Provocateur is a lingerie brand, with stores and in-store franchises in 15 countries.[1] The company is owned by Four Marketing Ltd, a retail fashion brand agency/distributor with a portfolio of brands.[2]


Shareholders: SDI Four LtdOC (32.5%); Benjamin Charles Banks (22.5%), Gino Da'Prato (22.5%), Charles Perez (22.5%) (May.2019).
  • Four (Holdings) Ltd, OC
    • Four Marketing Ltd OC
      • Agent Provocateur Ltd, OC
      • Agent Provocateur IP Ltd, OC
        • Agent Provocateur Licensing Ltd, OC


Mar.2017 Pre-Pack Deal: as part of a pre-pack deal, the assets and the brand name of the company was purchased by Four (Holdings) Ltd,OC in which Mike Ashley had a 25% stake (32.5% as of May.2019).[3] ,ref
Mar.2017 Agent Provocateur Ltd:OC a new company was formed to hold the trade and assets acquired.
Mar.2017 Administration: the business entered administration.[4] 3i Group was heavily criticised for "road-crashing" the business to wipe out creditors,[5] when private equity firm Quadro Capital Partners tabled a higher offer that would have protected both jobs and creditors.[5][6]
Aug.2016 Accounting irregularities were discovered, plus a downturn in the market. These led to an immediate requirement for short-term funding, which was not forthcoming.
2008-2016 A policy of expansion across 27 countries was pursued, resulting in losses due to expansion costs.
3i: After Corré and Rees divorced, private equity firm 3i Group plc purchased an 80% stake in the company,[7] via Pearl Acquisitions Ltd,OC itself owned by Pearl (AP) Group Ltd.OC (AR-Mar.2008)
Feb.1994 Agent Provocateur LtdOC was founded in Soho, London by Joseph CorréWikipedia-W.svg and Serena ReesWikipedia-W.svg.[8]


  1. ^ Store Locator. Agent Provocateur. Accessed Aug.10.2019.
  2. ^ The Four guys. Ana Santi, Drapers Online, Sept.01.2012. Note: Sports Direct bought a 25% stake in Four Marketing from Convex Capital Ltd.OC
  3. ^ Confirmed: Sports Direct founder acquires Agent Provocateur. Vivian Hendriksz, Fashion United, Mar.03.2017.
  4. ^ 3i lost £45 million on Agent Provocateur. William Louch, Paul Hodkinson, Financial News.
  5. ^ a b Agent Provocateur founder brands Mike Ashley's purchase 'a stitch-up'. Graham Ruddick, The Guardian, Mar.02.2017.
  6. ^ Agent Provocateur co-founder slams 3i as “fraudulent, negligent, incompetent”. Praseeda Nair,, Mar.03.2017.
  7. ^ Private equity firm 3i pays £60m for Agent Provocateur. Julia Finch, The Guardian, Nov.16.2007.
  8. ^ Lingerie boss rejects MBE because Blair ‘is morally corrupt’. Alan Hamilton, The Times, Dec.29.2008. Original archived on Jun.15.2011.