Jenn Abelson of the Boston Globe reports that the Canton owner of Dunkin’ Donuts is weighing a roughly $500 million initial public offering in the second half of the year. The talks are still in the early stages and a bank has not yet been selected to lead the IPO, said the officials, who declined to be named because the information is not public.

“It’s no surprise that Dunkin’ would be looking at an IPO in the back half of the year,’’ said one of the officials. “But it’s very premature to talk about specifics.’’

The push to take the business public, first reported by Reuters, comes six years after private equity firms, including Boston’s Bain Capital Partners and Thomas H. Lee Partners, purchased Dunkin’ for $2.4 billion.

Dunkin’, which also runs ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins, has accelerated its growth in recent years and opened 574 net new locations worldwide in 2010. The company reported global system-wide sales of $7.7 billion in 2010, up from $6.4 billion in 2006 when the buyout companies took over Dunkin’ Brands.

“We do not respond to rumors or speculation,’’ said Michelle King, a Dunkin’ Brands spokeswoman. “We are focused on operating our business and helping our franchisees drive revenues and profits at their restaurants.’’

Dunkin’s discussions come as other local businesses, including service ZipcarInc., go public. Improving market conditions have prompted buyout companies to move ahead on initial public offerings, said David Menlow, founder of research company

“Private equity firms have their own shareholders, and the fundholders are screaming for profits. So it becomes a financial imperative for these firms to try and monetize these investments by bringing them public,’’ Menlow said. “Dunkin’s name is going to have quite a bit of attraction. It’s obviously very ubiquitous. But it’s going to come down to how much debt this company has and what their ability will be to service it and pay it down.’’

Abelson also reports that:

Jim Coen, president of Dunkin’ Donuts Independent Franchise Owners, said he hopes the capital raised from any public offering will go toward helping the company grow and innovate.

“We hope that any money will go back into the brand,’’ Coen said. “Going public will add transparency. But it will also drive the need for quarterly growth. And that’s a concern to franchise owners who have been growing their businesses for over 50 years.’’

Read more at the Boston Globe