By  on September 11, 2013

NEW YORK — Shares of The Jones Group Inc. rose 4 percent Wednesday to close at $15.11 in Big Board trading following a report that private equity firms KKR & Co. and Sycamore Partners were considering a joint bid for the apparel firm.

Two sources close to the process confirmed that the private equity firms were working together and one of these sources said the pair had submitted a first-round bid for Jones over the summer. Executives at KKR and Sycamore declined comment.

RELATED STORY: Bidding Begins on Jones Group >>

Jones hired Citi earlier this year as its financial adviser to explore options, and has been focusing on either selling the apparel and footwear businesses separately or the entire firm outright. Jones has a market capitalization of about $1.1 billion. The first round of bids were due July 19. Financial sources said bids were accepted for each option: the entire company, the apparel group and the footwear group. Sources said both strategic players and financial sponsors have expressed interests in the different options.

Second-round bids are expected at the end of the month.

There’s also a group of potential bidders waiting in the wings in case Jones elects to accept separate offers for different components of its apparel businesses, as well as for its footwear businesses. For example, Delta Galil Industries Ltd.’s Isaac Dabah is said to be interested in the jeanswear business, which includes Gloria Vanderbilt, the firm he sold to Jones in 2002 for $138 million.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday afternoon that KKR and Sycamore were contemplating a joint bid.

For the second-quarter ended July, Jones’ net loss was $3.4 million, or 5 cents a diluted share, on a 1.1 percent decline in total revenues to $845.6 million.

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