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Party City owners files for IPO

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January 21, 2014 07:05 PM EST | AP

NEW YORK (AP) — The owners of Party City are planning an initial public offering of stock that could raise up to $500 million.

The company says its shares would trade under the ticker symbol "PRTY," but it's not saying how many shares will be sold or at what price.

Party City Holdco Inc. said Tuesday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is the largest party goods retailer in North America, with about 880 locations. It also distributes to 40,000 retailers, including independent party supply stores, supermarkets and dollar stores.

The company said in the filing that it lost $51.7 million in the first nine months of 2013. Its revenue came to $1.34 billion.

Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners owns about 69 percent of Party City. Another investment firm, Advent International Corp., owns about 24 percent of the company.

The company, based in Elmsford, N.Y., filed paperwork for an initial public offering in 2011, before the sale to the buyout firms.

Founded in 1947 as an importer and wholesaler, the company grew through acquisitions from 2005 to 2010 and now designs, manufactures and sells products such as balloons, plastic tableware, costumes, stationery and gifts.

The company said it could make more acquisitions and plans to open 30 new stores a year, with up to 350 new locations in North America. It also believes it can increase the current $100 million in annual online sales and expand in other countries.

Party City said it plans to money generated by the IPO to repay debt.