In what is likely to be the mother of all arts and crafts projects, Michaels Stores (NYSE:MIK) has put itself on the block. The hobbyist and home-decorating superstore chain has retained JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) to seek out "strategic alternatives" -- which usually means an outright sale of the company.

Yes, Michaels Stores is serious about this. President and CEO Michael Rouleau is retiring, and while the company is splitting up his hats internally for now, there are no plans to find a new CEO until JPMorgan's work is complete.

No, Michaels Stores didn't have to do this. The company is coming off its ninth consecutive year of financial improvement. Last year saw comps inch 3.6% higher. That's stacked atop same-store sales growth of 4.9% the year before.

The Wall Street Journal estimates that the operator of 1,076 stores could fetch roughly $5.5 billion. The company earned $219.5 million before an accounting charge last year on $3.7 billion in sales. That would price a $5.5 billion buyout at 1.5 times sales.

So who will make an offer? Peers like A.C. Moore (NASDAQ:ACMR), Jo-Ann Stores (NYSE:JAS) and Hancock Fabrics (NYSE:HKF) are significantly smaller. Broader retailing behemoths that have been acquisitive in the past, such as J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) and Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD), are unlikely to ante up for a deal that large. That means that potential suitors will likely come from the realm of private equity firms.

Naturally, the smaller the pool of possible bidders, the harder it will be to seal a deal. Shares were bid up 12% higher this morning, granting the company a $5.2 billion market cap, but there are no assurances that buyers will pay much more than that for a retailer that has little reason to budge for anything short of a generous offer.

Fools, hold off on sending those silk flowers until actual bids start coming in.

JPMorgan Chase is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks that Michaels Stores is worth its weight in googly eyes. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy . Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.