October 5, 2010 / 7:18 AM / 8 years ago

Gymboree hires Goldman, explores sale: sources

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Children’s apparel retailer Gymboree GYMB.O has hired Goldman Sachs (GS.N) to begin a formal auction of the company, which could fetch more than $1 billion, sources familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

The sources declined to be identified by name because they were not authorized to speak with the media.

Gymboree, which runs retail stores and play centers, hired Goldman last month after it was approached by at least two firms — one of which was Apollo Management APOLO.UL, according to the New York Post.

Billionaire Leon Black’s Apollo Management — whose recent unsolicited approach to Gymboree helped spur the auction that’s now under way, according to one source — is expected to be among the leading bidders, the newspaper said.

Other buyout firms such as Bain Capital, KKR (KKR.N), Apax Partners and Irving Place Capital have also shown interest in the San Francisco-based retailer, the paper said.

Reports of the company exploring a sale, last week, sent Gymboree’s stock up 21 percent.

Shares of Gymboree jumped $1.70, or 3.5 percent, to $49.94 percent in morning trading on Tuesday.

Gymboree, Apollo Management, Apax Partners, and KKR could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters. Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Reporting by Mansi Dutta in Bangalore, Jessica Hall in Philadelphia and Megan Davies in New York; Editing by Louise Heavens, Dave Zimmerman

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