Mike Ashley wants you to know something about his Agent Provocateur takeover

Emma Haslett
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Agent Provocateur Fall 2006 - Runway
Agent Provocateur was "dropped like a pair of dirty knickers", its founder has told City A.M. (Source: Getty)

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley's recent foray into frilly knickers may have raised eyebrows - but he wants you to know it wasn't just him who bought the lingerie retailer.

In a statement today, Sports Direct clarified the £30m acquisition was made by Four Holdings, a company in which it owns a 25 per cent stake.

"Some reports have also stated that Sports Direct paid £35m two years ago for a stake in Four Marketing," it added.

"In fact, the amount paid for the shareholding in Four (Holdings) Limited was £8.75m."

Shares were down 5.2 per cent, at 284.35p, in mid-morning trading - although that is likely to be because Sports Direct also used this morning's statement to clarify that it still expects the devaluation of the euro against the dollar to hit its gross margins.

"Our euro/dollar exchange rate is currently hedged at 1.46, which is due to expire at the end of 2017 and we currently have no euro/dollar hedging in place for 2018," it said.

Dirty knickers

Ashley's (or Four's) acquisition of exclusive lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur was confirmed on Thursday, weeks after private equity owner 3i put it up for sale.

Not everyone was impressed with the deal: in an interview with City A.M. yesterday Joe Corre, the brand's founder (and the son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood) complained the brand had been "dropped like a pair of dirty knickers".

The deal is a scandal on many levels. It is a scandal primarily because there was a higher bidder on the table [Quadro Capital reportedly offered £35m for the business] who would’ve saved a majority of the jobs and the international presence of the brand.

“Mike Ashley has already confirmed he’s closing down the entire international side of the business," he added.

"He’s going to buy the stock and he’s going to keep a few stores in the UK running - everything else is going. None of the creditors will be paid which means the factories will close which means the jobs will be lost. The taxman is not going to get paid either, it’s a disaster.”