Private equity company 3i has signed an agreement to acquire luxury brand lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur.

3i said that its funding will allow Agent Provocateur to pursue further growth opportunities. Although financial figures were not disclosed this morning (16 November), local press report that 3i will take up an 80% stake for around GBP60m (US$122.4m).

The investment firm has introduced Stuart Rose, who shares the same name as M&S' boss, as chairman. Rose has gained extensive experience of international retailing, franchising and brand development from his time at The Body Shop, where he held the positions of deputy chairman and managing director. He is also currently chairman of The Hamleys Group.

Agent Provocateur, founded in 1994 by Joseph Corré and Serena Rees, sells underwear products across 14 countries including the US, Europe and Middle East. In addition to lingerie, it has launched fragrances and added shoes to its existing product ranges. Both founders will continue to be shareholders in the business, but Rees has decided she wishes to pursue new opportunities. Corré will be staying with the business as creative director, a statement said.

Corré, the son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, said: "This new phase in the development of Agent Provocateur will give us the operational and financial platform to realise the company's potential so that it takes its rightful position as the world's most dynamic luxury lingerie brand!"

Jennifer Dunstan, 3i Partner Buyouts, commented: "We are delighted to be investing in such a unique and exciting brand as Agent Provocateur. The company has a fantastic reputation and is already well established throughout Europe. We believe there is enormous potential for the business to continue to grow and look forward to using both our retail experience and our global network to help Agent Provocateur achieve this ambition."

3i specialises in mid-market buyouts in Europe, targeting companies valued at up to around EUR1bn.