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Yankee Candle is said to be for sale

The company, founded in 1969, operates more than 500 retail stores,

Globe file Photo/2004

The company, founded in 1969, operates more than 500 retail stores,

Yankee Candle Co., the country’s largest maker of scented candles, is reportedly being prepared for a sale, about seven years after the South Deerfield company was purchased for $1.6 billion by a private equity firm.

Madison Dearborn Partners, a Chicago buyout firm, is working with Barclays and Bank of America Merrill Lynch on a sale process that is still in the early stages, according to a report published Tuesday by Reuters, which cited anonymous sources.

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Officials at Yankee Candle and Madison Dearborn declined to comment.

The company reported that its net sales increased 7.4 percent in 2012, to about $844.2 million.

Jenn Abelson of the Globe Staff contributed to this story. She can be reached at abelson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @jennabelson.

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