NEW YORK (AP) – Arts and crafts retailer Michaels Stores Inc. is crafting a return to public stock markets with its filing Friday for a $500 million initial public offering.

The filing comes six years after private equity firms Bain Capital LLC and The Blackstone Group LP bought the company in a $6 billion leveraged buyout. The company plans to use part of the proceeds to pay down some of the $3.49 billion in debt it had as of Jan. 28.

The Irving, Texas-based retailer said the number of shares to be sold and the price range for the proposed offering have yet to be determined. It plans to list the shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “MIK.”

In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company said it plans to use the proceeds from the offering to pay down debt, for working capital and general corporate purposes.

Bain and Blackstone will still control a majority of the stock voting power after the offering is completed, according to the filing.

Michaels operates 1,196 stores, including 1,066 Michaels stores and 130 Aaron Brothers stores that sell a wide variety of products for arts, crafts, scrapbooking, framing, home décor, holidays and children’s activities. Its store brands represented about 44 percent of its sales last year.

In its SEC filing, the retailer touts itself as the biggest player in the “highly fragmented” but growing North American specialty arts and crafts retail industry, with as many stores as its two largest competitors combined.

For the year ended June 30, the industry generated sales about $30.3 billion, according to Craft & Hobby Association figures cited in the filing. Specialty chains like Michaels represent about 39 percent of the market, with everything from mass-market stores like Walmart to independent retailers making up the rest.

For the fiscal year ended Jan. 28, Michaels posted a 71 percent jump in profit to $176 million.

Revenue rose 4.4 percent to $4.21 billion and included a 3.2 percent increase in revenue at stores open at least a year. The metric is considered a key gauge of retailer health because it excludes sales at stores that opened or closed during the year.

J.P. Morgan and Goldman, Sachs & Co. are the offering’s lead underwriters.

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