AlixPartners, a corporate turnaround restructuring firm, has been appointed to run the sale process for 3i’s troubled lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur.

Sources with knowledge of the matter have confirmed that this may increase the likelihood of the business being sold through pre-pack administration.

It was reported last month that Agent Provocateur had received at least a dozen offers from potential buyers, although none of these are thought to exceed the business’s £30m (€35.1m) debt pile.

Lion Capital, former owner of high street lingerie brand La Senza which also suffered financial difficulties, is rumoured to be interested in the business.

Endless’s Enact fund, Boux Avenue owner Theo Paphitis and Apollo-backed Alteri Investors have also been linked to the deal.

3i previously looked at selling Agent Provocateur in 2014, when it was reported that its value could exceed £200m.

The firm acquired Agent Provocateur in 2007 for around £60m after its married founders – Joseph Corré, the son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, and Serena Rees – separated.