WEST POINT, Ga. (AP) _ WestPoint Stevens Inc., a leading maker of linens and other home accessories, said Wednesday it is seeking a merger or sale to try to increase shareholder value.

The West Point-based company said it has not had any discussions with any interested party, and that it has received no proposals. The strategic alternatives could include a management buyout, the company said in a news release.

WestPoint, the world's largest producer of bath towels, bed sheets, linens, comforters and other home products, has hired Merrill Lynch and Co. to assist with the initiative.

The company also said that, because of the search, it has terminated its pending offer of up to 3 million shares of common stock, or about 6 percent of outstanding shares. The tender was announced last month and was to have ended Nov. 30.

Messages left at the company Wednesday were not immediately returned. WestPoint was up $1 at $19 at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.