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Liz Claiborne Rises on WSJ Report It Held Buyout Talks

Liz Claiborne Inc. rose the most in four weeks after the Wall Street Journal reported that the retailer had held talks with private-equity firms about a possible buyout at about $20 a share.

The shares climbed 13 percent to $13.36 at the close in New York, the biggest gain since March 1. They have advanced 55 percent this year.

While Liz Claiborne isn’t currently considering a sale, KKR & Co., Permira and Warburg Pincus LLC remain interested in taking the company private, the newspaper reported today, citing people familiar with the matter.

“There is currently no contemplation of any strategy for the company other than executing against the operating plan we have already discussed,” Jane Randel, a spokeswoman for New York-based Liz Claiborne, said in an e-mail.

Chief Executive Officer Bill McComb in recent years has sold the apparel maker’s underperforming, mid-priced department-store brands to concentrate on its Juicy Couture, Lucky Brand and Kate Spade labels.

The namesake Liz Claiborne brand went to J.C. Penney Co. In May, McComb plans to change his company’s name to Fifth & Pacific Cos. The company reported its first quarterly profit in four years in its most recent three-month period.

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