SAN FRANCISCO(

TheStreet

) --

Gymboree

(GYMB)

hired

Goldman Sachs

to begin a formal auction of the children's clothing retailer that could fetch more than $1 billion, the

New York Post

reports, citing sources.

Apollo Management -- whose recent unsolicited approach to Gymboree helped spur the auction, one source told the

Post

-- is expected to be among the leading bidders.

Buyout firms Bain Capital,

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KKR

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, Apax Partners and Irving Place Capital also have expressed interest in acquiring the retailer, sources told the newspaper.

Gymboree shares surged last week

after the

Wall Street Journal

reported Gymboree may be putting itself up for sale.

The stock closed Monday at $48.24, down $1.62.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

>To contact the writer of this article, click here:

Joseph Woelfel

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