Ann shares rise as retailer says it's talking strategy with investor Golden Gate Capital

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Shares of Ann Inc. rose in extended trading Tuesday after the women's clothing chain said it had a deal to provide confidential company information to one its investors, Golden Gate Capital.

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Ann, which also runs the Loft store chain, said it had entered a "non-disclosure agreement" with Golden Gate to share "non-public information."

Ann said that because of Golden Gate's expertise in retail and its good relationship with the investment firm, "it would be beneficial to continue discussions on a more detailed basis."

Golden Gate disclosed a 9.5 percent stake in Ann in March, and is the company's biggest shareholder. It said then that the retailer is "well-managed" and that it looks forward to working with Ann to boost its share price. The private equity firm also has invested in Eddie Bauer and California Pizza Kitchen. This year it bought the Red Lobster chain from Darden Restaurants Inc. for $2.1 billion.

Ann's stock got an initial boost when Golden Gate announced its March investment, but it is up less than 1 percent in 2014. The shares gained $2.01, or 5.5 percent, to $38.80 in aftermarket trading Tuesday.

Another big investor, Engine Capital LP, has pushed Ann to explore a sale, saying a private equity firm could help it cut costs, while a big international retailer could help it expand abroad.

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The company's sales growth has slowed in the last few years.