Sports Direct clarifies purchase of Agent Provocateur, warns on euro

Sports Direct has issued a clarification on its dealings with Agent Provocateur following reports last week that the sports retail giant had purchased the struggling lingerie company.

Sports Direct on Thursday acquired an interest in the luxury lingerie brand after it fell into insolvency through Four Marketing, the London-based branding agency in which Sports Direct has a 25 per cent stake.

Reports last week, citing sources, said that Sports Direct would pay £25m-£30m for Agent Provocateur once it entered administration after its private equity owner, 3i, failed to secure a buyer.

In a statement on Tuesday morning, Sports Direct clarified that Agent Provocateur had in fact been acquired by Four. It added that it paid £8.75m for the Four stake two years ago, contrary to some press reports of a £35m price tag.

Sports Direct also warned that the weaker euro would affect its gross margins. The company said its euro-dollar exchange rate was currently hedged at $1.46 and that it had no hedging in place for 2018. The euro is currently trading just under $1.06 against the dollar. The current contracts expires at the end of the financial year in April.

The company issued a profit warning after the flash crash in sterling last year.

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