November 1, 2012 / 7:40 PM / in 5 years

Advance Auto explores sale to private equity-source

NEW YORK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Advance Auto Parts Inc has hired investment bank Blackstone Advisory to explore a potential sale to private equity, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday, in a deal that could top $6 billion.

The auto parts retailer, which sells parts, accessories, batteries and maintenance items to both do-it-yourself and commercial customers, has attracted initial interest from several private equity firms, the source said.

The auction is at an early stage and the buyout firms have held management meetings with Advance Auto Parts over the past two weeks, the source added.

Shares of Advance Auto Parts jumped 13 percent on Thursday to $79.91 on the New York Stock Exchange, valuing the company at more than $5.8 billion. CNBC reported news of the potential sale earlier on Thursday.

The source declined to be identified because the matter is not public. Representatives for Advance Auto Parts and Blackstone did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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