Fashion retailer Express Inc. has donned IR and PR support as private equity firm Sycamore Partners pursues its acquisition.

expressExpress revealed Sycamore's overtures on June 12 with the announcement of a special board committee and hiring of legal counsel. ICR is supporting investor relations for the Columbus, Ohio-based company, while Sard Verbinnen & Co is bolstering corporate communications and media relations.

Express said it has adopted a stockholder rights plan to prevent a hostile takeover, noting Sycamore owns about 9.9% of outstanding shares.

Sycamore Partners, which works with Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher, has retail holdings including Aeropostale, Jones New York and Nine West.

Bloomberg pegs Express' market cap at $1.14B. Its shares rose more than 20% after it divulged Sycamore's interest. 

Melissa Jacobs is VP of IR for Express.