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Advance Auto shares up on reports of plans to sell

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Advance Auto Parts Inc. soared Thursday on media reports that the company has hired private equity firm Blackstone to facilitate a sale of the company.

THE SPARK: Citing anonymous sources, CNBC reported that the Roanoke, Va.-based auto parts retailer had hired Blackstone Group LP and that at least three private equity firms were exploring possible bids for the company.

THE BIG PICTURE: New York-based Blackstone buys stakes in companies, invests in real estate and lends to other investors.

A spokeswoman for Advance Auto did not answer her phone Thursday afternoon, and an email seeking comment was not immediately returned.

THE SHARES: Up $8.21, or 11.6 percent, to $79.15 in afternoon trading, after peaking at $84 earlier in the session. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $60.87 and $93.08.