Ann Inc has hired JPMorgan Chase & Co to explore strategic alternatives, including a potential sale of the women's retailer, according to people familiar with the matter.
The hiring of an investment bank comes as the Ann Taylor parent faces pressure from hedge funds Engine Capital LP and Red Alder LLC to consider selling itself to a private equity firm or a large international retailer.
Shares of Ann jumped to over $40 per share on Monday after the funds, which together control more than 1 percent of the stock, said it could be worth $50 to $55 per share to a potential buyer. New York-based Ann has a market capitalization of roughly $1.8 billion.
Representatives for Ann and JPMorgan declined to comment.
Earlier this year, private equity firm Golden Gate Capital took a 9.5 percent stake in Ann, saying the company's stock was undervalued.