Tower Records, the U.S. record industry’s most famous retail brand, is on the block once again. The investment banking firm of Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin has been hired to shop the 90-unit, W

Tower Records, the U.S. record industry’s most famous retail brand, is on the block once again. The investment banking firm of Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin has been hired to shop the 90-unit, West Sacramento, Calif.-based chain, according to sources.

Houlihan Lokey, based in Los Angeles, has been working for the chain in an advisory role since at least last fall. Initially, its task was to work with Tower senior management on a value-creation enterprise, aimed at boosting the chain’s worth. But some time in the last two months, Tower’s directors approved the hiring of an investment bank to shop the company, and Houlihan Lokey won that assignment. The banking firm is said to be preparing a “book” to shop the chain. A spokesman for Houlihan Lokey declined comment, and Tower CEO Allen Rodriguez
did not return calls.

In its heyday—right up until its bankruptcy filing, really—Tower Records generated nearly $1 billion in annual sales. But after selling off its Japanese affiliate and exiting its other international operations, the chain currently generates about $450 million-$500 million in sales, Billboard estimates.

The new owners have now shopped the chain twice. Los Angeles-based Grief & Co. put Tower on the block during the summer of 2004.

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