Aeropostale Inc. (ARO), the operator of more than 1,000 teen and children’s apparel stores in North America, rose the most in almost two years after private-equity firm Sycamore Partners took an 8 percent stake in the company.
The shares advanced 18 percent to $10.17 at the close in New York for the biggest gain since Nov. 3, 2011. Shares of the New York-based company have declined 22 percent this year through the close of regular trading, compared with a 20 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
Sycamore, through its Hummingbird LLC unit, bought about 6.3 million shares of Aeropostale, according to a filing today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. That would make it the retailer’s fourth-largest shareholder, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In June, Sycamore purchased teen retailer Hot Topic for about $533.5 million and also was in talks to buy Billabong International Ltd. (BBG) before talks ended.
“Given Sycamore Partners’ track record, we believe Hummingbird will ultimately attempt to take Aeropostale private,” Richard Jaffe, an analyst with Stifel Financial Corp. in New York, wrote today in a note to clients. Jaffe has a hold rating on the shares.
Sycamore, which was started in 2011 by two executives from buyout firm Golden Gate Capital Corp., previously acquired stakes in Talbots Inc., Mast Global Fashions and consumer-retail lender Pathlight Capital. The firm has more than $1 billion in capital under management.
Jessica Adams, a spokeswoman for Aeropostale who works for FTI Consulting, declined to comment. Michael Freitag, a spokesman for Sycamore who works for Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer & Katcher, declined to comment.
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