One of the stars of the BBC television show Dragons' Den is to sell his majority stake in lingerie retailer La Senza for up to an estimated £100 million, it has emerged.
Theo Paphitis, who is also the entrepreneur behind Ryman stationery, has signed a deal with private equity firm Lion Capital for an undisclosed sum.
He said: "La Senza is probably the most exciting and vibrant business I have been involved in.
"I am delighted that Lion Capital has shown such confidence in it and I am sure that this will result in exciting opportunities for everyone still involved with the business.
Mr Paphitis is to remain as a director and will retain a minority share-holding in the business.
It is understood the sale price is estimated to be up to £100 million. The transaction should be completed by the end of next week.
London-based La Senza's network of retail outlets has grown from 40 in 1998 to 118 and consists of 98 directly-owned stores and concessions in the UK, nine in Ireland and 11 franchises across Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Malta and Gibraltar.
It is the largest independent retailer in the UK, focused on the lingerie market.
Last year, La Senza generated £94 million of turn-over, and it has grown sales at 13 per cent per annum over the last three years. The company employs over 1,800 people in the UK and Ireland.
Robert Darwent, a founding partner of Lion, formerly the European arm of US private equity firm Hicks Muse, said: "La Senza has been very successful in pursuing a differentiated retail concept that is focused on a niche consumer category.
"Its leading position in the UK lingerie market, high level of brand aware-ness and ability to attract and maintain a very loyal customer base make it an attractive investment opportunity for Lion."
He plans to expand the business further in its curr ent markets and in Europe.
The London-based group has already invested in the Wagamama restaurant chain and Jimmy Choo, the luxury shoe maker.