Agent Provocateur, the struggling lingerie retailer, is set to enter into administration later this morning after its owner, private equity group 3i, failed to secure a buyer, ​according to ​​two people briefed on the process.

Sports Direct is likely to buy the business once it enters administration and some job losses are expected, the​y said. The company ​will likely​ end up paying somewhere in the region of between £25m to £30m.

3i declined to comment. Sports Direct could not be reached for comment.

Last November, 3i wrote down the value of its 80 per cent stake by £39m — the private equity firm’s largest writedown in the first half of its financial year.

KPMG had investigated accountancy irregularities at Agent Provocateur that surfaced during a board reshuffle last year.

AlixPartners, the restructuring company, had been working with 3i, which has owned the retailer since 2007, to look at options to turn round the business.

Rothschild, the investment bank, had been appointed to handle the now failed sale of Agent Provocateur, whose products include a £1,995 kimono.

Photo: Reuters

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