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
-- is expected to be among the leading bidders.
Buyout firms Bain Capital,
, Apax Partners and Irving Place Capital also have expressed interest in acquiring the retailer, sources told the newspaper.
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
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