Flooring retailer Empire Today explores sale, say sources: Reuters

Empire Today LLC, the privately held U.S. carpet, hard-floor and window treatment retailer known for its catchy, digit-bearing advertising jingle, is up for sale, according to people familiar with the matter.

Investment firm Mercury Capital LP, which has owned Empire for 17 years, has hired investment bank Moelis & Co (MC.N) to run an auction for the company, seeking to capitalize on consumer demand for remodeling homes, the sources said this week.

Empire has roughly $50 million in 12-month earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation, the sources said. Based on this, the company could fetch several hundred million dollars in a sale, they added.

The sources requested anonymity because the sale process is confidential. Empire, Moelis and Mercury Capital declined to comment.

Empire, whose competitors include Lowes Corp (L.N), Home Depot and Floor and Decor Outlets of America Inc, offers shop-at-home services in more than 70 U.S. locations, including Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

The Northlake, Illinois-based company opened its first retail stores last year in Virginia and Long Island, New York.

The sale of one of the largest U.S. flooring retailers comes as home improvement spending has rebounded from a steep recessionary recline. Rising employment rates and house prices have risen, prompting Americans to make delayed investments in their homes.

Home improvement retailer Home Depot Inc (HD.N) announced higher-than-expected earnings last month.
Empire’s origins date back to a plastic cover business that Seymour Cohen founded in 1959. Cohen later expanded the product lines of Empire Plastic Covers to include carpets. Mercury Capital acquired the company in 1999 and renamed it Empire Today.

The Empire jingle, which first aired on commercials in 1977, was written and sung by barbershop quartet performer Lynn Hauldren.