Yankee Candle Said to Abandon Sale After Bids Come Up Short

Madison Dearborn Partners LLC has dropped its attempt to sell Yankee Candle Co. because bidders weren’t willing to pay the price it was seeking, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Madison Dearborn, the Chicago-based private-equity firm that acquired the scented-candle maker in 2007 for $1.6 billion including debt, was asking for as much as $2 billion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process was private. The company, which dubs itself the best-selling candle brand in the U.S., will now explore other options, one of the people said.

Buyout firms weren’t willing to pay $2 billion because they didn’t see enough growth in the business, the people said. While the company’s revenue has increased, net income hasn’t kept pace. Sales rose 5.4 percent to $163.4 million in the first quarter, according to a company statement this month. The net loss narrowed to $1.7 million in the three months ended March 30 from $3.5 million in the year-earlier period.

Chuck Dohrenwend, a spokesman for Madison Dearborn at Abernathy MacGregor Group, declined to comment.

Yankee Candle, based in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, sells its products through a base of more than 500 company-owned retail stores, according to its website, with a North American customer network of about 19,100 specialty retailers.

Madison Dearborn hired Bank of America Corp. and Barclays Plc in March to try to sell Yankee Candle, said the people familiar with the situation. The buyout firm’s holdings include Boise Cascade Co., a maker and distributor of wood products that went public in February, and Topps Co., a creator and marketer of sports cards.

Since it was founded in 1992, Madison Dearborn has raised six funds with aggregate capital of more than $18 billion, according to its website.

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