Service Experts stock plunged nearly 40 percent in trading on July 19 after it said earnings will fall short of Wall Street expectations.Company shares (NYSE: SVE) were down $8.19 to $12.31 per share.

The company released a statement warning it may merge or be acquired by another company. In recent weeks, the New York

Stock Exchange has been watching Service Experts' volatility. Service Experts admitted it has taken steps toward a merger or acquisition.

Sources tell PM that Carrier or Sears may be the closest to purchasing the industry consolidator. Carrier is one of the world's largest Manufacturers of HVAC systems. Sears could be looking to expand its home improvement outlet, Sears Home Central.

Service Experts, based in Nashville, Tenn., has been an industry consolidator since 1996, and operates in 34 states. It is expecting earnings to be $0.23 to $0.28 per share, well below the $0.50 per share estimated by Wall Street. Company figures were released Aug. 3, a spokesperson said.

CEO Alan Sielbeck said the decline in earnings was due to a loss of revenues, disappointing weather, weak margins and increased expenses stemming from consolidation issues.

It is the second major nose-dive Service Experts has weathered this year. On Feb. 23 its stocks dropped 29 percent when it announced that earnings for the year were going to fall short of Wall Street expectations. Service Experts has steadily dropped from its high of $38 per share in July 1998.

Service Experts would be the second industry consolidator to be purchased. Earlier this year, ServiceMaster purchased American Residential Services, and folded it into its Rescue Rooter unit. ServiceMaster (NYSE: SVM) shares have struggled since the purchase, hovering around $17 per share.