ServiceMaster announced it is “exploring alternatives” for its American Residential Services (Service Express and Rescue Rooter) and American Mechanical Services companies, including their sale, so it can concentrate on its core businesses.

“Our best opportunity to build shareholder value is to have fewer priorities and to pursue them with greater intensity,” said Jonathan Ward, ServiceMaster chairman and CEO. “This action reflects the company's continued commitment to brands which have the ability to achieve sustainable national market leadership … and significant and consistent growth in share, revenue and return on capital.”

Those core businesses include TruGreen, Terminix, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids and Furniture Medic.

ServiceMaster has retained a financial advisor, and stated that it will not disclose any information about the status of the possible sale “unless and until it and its board of directors have approved a definitive transaction.”

ARS/AMS were ranked No. 2 in PM's 2005 Pipe Trades Giants listing. For fiscal year 2005, these businesses increased their revenue 11 percent, for a total of $764.89 million.

In other news, ServiceMaster announced that Albert Cantu is leaving the company to “pursue other interests.” Cantu was a group vice president, responsible for ARS, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids and Furniture Medic. He previously was the president of Terminix.