Lingerie firm Agent Provocateur may be heading for administration after restructuring firm AlixPartners was appointed as principal advisor on the sale process.
Investment bank Rothschild was previously leading the sale, but has been replaced by AlixPartners. The move fuelled rumours the chain was likely to go through a pre-pack administration to shed its debt.
Lion Capital, the former owner of La Senza and Etam, are thought to be among the bidders.
Bids for the troubled retailer have been tabled and Drapers understands a decision is expected by the end of the month.
The lingerie retailer is restructuring after difficult trading conditions and an accountancy error caused parent company 3i to write down the value of the business by £39m in November.
Agent Provocateur’s chairman, Chris Woodhouse, recently stepped down as chairman and Ian Lobley, a partner at 3i, took over.
In its most recent accounts for the year to 28 March 2015, sales rose 16% to £61.7m, but pre-tax profits fell by more than a quarter to £4.6m.
In 2007, 3i bought a £60m controlling stake in the business from Joe Corré, the son of fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. He left the business in 2009.