Ann Rises After Signing Golden Gate Confidentiality Pact

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Ann Inc., owner of the Ann Taylor clothing chain, rose the most since August after disclosing it had entered into a confidentiality agreement with a private-equity firm that has a history of acquiring retailers.

The agreement covers discussions between Ann and a unit of Golden Gate Capital Corp. regarding the company’s ongoing review of options to boost shareholder value, the New York-based retailer said yesterday in a filing.

Ann has been under pressure from some investors to consider putting itself up for sale since at least August, when Engine Capital LP and Red Alder LLC said the retailer could fetch $50 to $55 a share in buyout. San Francisco-based Golden Gate, which owns about 9.6 percent of Ann’s shares, has made restaurant and retail investments in companies such as California Pizza Kitchen Inc., Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc. and Zale Corp.

“The Ann team believes this is a beneficial type of relationship given Golden Gate’s historical success investing in retail, and I guess Golden Gate, while keeping their stake, is kind of looking under the hood a bit,” Anna Andreeva, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. in New York, said in an interview.

The cooperation increases the likelihood of a deal for Ann, said Andreeva, who has a market perform rating on the shares.

Ann shares rose 5.2 percent to $38.71 in New York, marking the biggest gain since Aug. 25. The stock had been little changed this year through yesterday’s close.