Theo Paphitis quits BBC’s Dragons’ Den to concentrate on new retail ventures

Serial entrepreneur announces his departure from the popular TV series after nine years in the Den

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Theo Paphitis has announced his exit from the BBC TV series Dragons’ Den after sitting on the panel of venture capitalists for nine years.

The entrepreneur, who sold Lingerie chain La Senza for £100m in 2006, has decided to leave the Den to continue to build his new lingerie firm Boux Avenue both in the UK and internationally. The company reported an £8m loss from its first full year of operation as Paphitis expanded the chain to 17 stores, including the opening of franchises in Malta, Gibraltar, and Iceland.

Having recently acquired household items retail store Robert Dyas, Paphitis also plans to spend time developing the business, as well as concentrating on £124m-turnover stationary chain Ryman, which recorded a profit of £7m before tax in 2011-12.

Paphitis, who has an estimated worth of £210m, joined Dragons’ Den in the show’s second series in 2005. In 2012, he made the largest ever investment from a single Dragon, pledging £250,000 to second hand media hardware buying site Zapper.

The news of Paphitis’ exit follows the departure of Hilary Devey from the Den and the BBC is yet to announce the panel’s two replacements.

Paphitis wished his replacement well in a statement on his departure from the show:  “The time felt right to give up my seat, stop breathing fire and allow someone else to enjoy the wonderful experience of being a Dragon on the BBC hit TV show, Dragons’ Den.”

He added: “This has not been an easy decision or one that I have taken lightly.”

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