Controversial retail tycoon Mike Ashley has reportedly entered the race to purchase struggling retailer Agent Provocateur with an alleged £27.5 million bid.
Ashley‘s retail company which also owns Sports Direct is now thought to be one of the bidders for the label, according to The Times.
Other bidders include French womenswear brand Etam and private equity firms like Lion Capital and Terra Firma Capital Partners.
The Times said Ashley plans to keep Agent Provocateur‘s 11 stores and sell the brand in his USC stores to help move it upmarket.
Agent Provocateur is being sold by private equity firm 3i, which has owned the retailer for more than 10 years and is reportedly seeking £30 million to cover its liabilities.
A decision on 3i‘s preferred bidder is expected to be confirmed soon.
Agent Provocateur also has around 100 concessions in 13 countries.