Blog: Leonie BarrieKnickers to pants

Leonie Barrie | 14 July 2006

Theo Paphitis, who this week sold his La Senza underwear chain to private equity house Lion Capital, seems to practice what he preaches. Paphitis is not only a hot-shot businessman but also appears as one of the judges on the BBC TV show Dragons’ Den, where budding entrepreneurs have to pitch their ideas to a tough team of potential investors and more often than not leave the stage with stinging criticism ringing in their ears. Paphitis, however, seems to have hit the jackpot after paying just GBP1 – no, that’s not a typo – for the ailing underwear firm, which he has since turned round and sold for a rumoured GBP100m.

But it seems his good fortune doesn’t just end there. La Senza might be described as an “exciting and vibrant business” that has turned in significant growth over the past five years, and as specialist lingerie chain sits in a UK niche with few other occupants (most lingerie sales are through department stores and clothing specialists). But there are also signs that the market is slowing down and will face increased competition from a rejuvenated M&S. So Paphitis’ decision to sell now means its new owners will face the challenges of future growth. His fellow Dragons would surely approve.

Lion takes hold of La Senza


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