Children’s apparel retailer Gymboree is understood to have hired Wall Street investment bank Goldman Sachs to begin a formal auction of the company, which could fetch more than $1bn (£628m).
Sources close to the deal, who declined to be identified by name because they were not authorised to speak with the media, confirmed the move yesterday.
Gymboree, which runs retail stores and play centres in the United States, hired Goldman last month after it was approached by at least two firms – one of which was Apollo Management, according to the New York Post newspaper.
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, Apax Partners and Irving Place Capital have also shown interest in the San Francisco-based retailer, the paper said.
Gymboree was founded by Joan Barnes in 1976 when she couldn’t find a safe place for new parents and children to play together.