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Yankee Candle considers going public

DEERFIELD — Yankee Candle Co. may go public as soon as this year, according to reports by Bloomberg News.

On Thursday, the business media outlet based in New York City, reported that private equity owners of the scented candle maker is pursuing an IPO or initial public stock offering, and foregoing earlier plans to sell the company.

The decision would make the South Deerfield-based company public rather than private.

Madison Dearborn Partners, the private equity investment owners of Yankee Candle, has teamed up with Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley to lead the offering, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.

Karen Woods, a spokesperson for Yankee Candle Co., however, said the company does not comment on rumors.

Originally, Madison Dearborn asked for $2 billion for the company. But those plans fell through when suitors objected, Bloomberg reported.

Yankee Candle is the largest maker of scented candles in the country and Franklin County’s largest employer. Yankee employs roughly 1,500 people in Franklin County and 6,000 total nationwide.

This year, Yankee paid $228,027 in property taxes to Deerfield, where it owns eight parcels of land for its corporate offices, flagship store and warehouses.

It also paid $117,987 in property taxes to Whately, where its 209,000-square-foot factory is located. In addition, the company has annually given the two host towns thousands of dollars in gifts, including scholarships and emergency vehicles.

The candle company was founded in a South Hadley garage by Michael J. Kittredge II in 1969 after he made candles out of melted crayons for a gift for his mother.

In 1983, Kittredge opened the flagship store and factory in South Deerfield, and the business continued to grow worldwide.

In 1998 he sold 90 percent of the equity in his company to investment firm Forstmann Little & Co., who brought the company public a year later, selling stock on a national stock exchange. Kittredge’s son, Michael J. Kittredge III later founded another candle company, Kringle Candle Co. in 2009 in Bernardston.

In 2006, Madison Dearborn Partners of Chicago purchased the candle maker for $1.6 billion.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
kmckiernan@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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