Children's apparel retailer Gymboree has hired Goldman Sachs to begin a formal auction of the company, which could fetch more than $1 billion, sources familiar with the situation said 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 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 reported.
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 newspaper reported.
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.
© 2016 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.