updated 6/30/2006 8:21:24 PM ET 2006-07-01T00:21:24

Arts and crafts retailer Michaels Stores Inc. has agreed to be bought by two private investment firms, Bain Capital LLC and The Blackstone Group, Michaels' board announced Friday.

The board said in a statement that under terms of the agreement, Michaels' shareholders will receive $44 per share in cash, valuing the transaction at $6 billion.

That represented a premium of nearly 30 percent to the closing price of the stock prior to the company's announcement on March 20 that it was looking at strategic alternatives.

The deal, subject to shareholder approval, is expected to close by year's end, the company said.

The statement said Bain Capital and Blackstone will own equal stakes in the company upon completion of the transaction.

Charles J. Wyly Jr., chairman of Michaels Stores, said in a statement that the company "is well-positioned for future growth" with more than 1,000 stores nationwide.

Michaels Stores, headquartered in Irving, Texas, is the nation's largest specialty retailer of arts, crafts, framing, floral, wall decor, and seasonal merchandise for the hobbyist and do-it-yourselfer.

It operates under the name Michaels as well as Aaron Brothers, Recollections and Star Wholesale.

Michaels' revenue was $3.68 billion in 2005 and the company has no long-term debt.

Bain Capital is headquartered in Boston, while Blackstone is based in New York.

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