( SFP) announced Monday that its board of directors has formed a special committee to look into a possible sale or merger of the company. To that end, the company has retained Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capital to serve as financial adviser in the process.

The company said its board and management "believe that, in light of the consolidation in the small household appliance market and recent expressions of interest by third parties in possible transactions with the company, it is now appropriate to initiate an external process to explore strategic alternatives to enhance stockholder value."

Salton designs, markets and distributes small appliances, home decor and personal care products under such brands as Salton, George Foreman, Westinghouse, Toastmaster, Farberware and Stiffel. The Lake Forest, Ill., company has a market capitalization of roughly $41 million.

Shares were higher by 50 cents, or 21.3%, at $2.85 in late-morning trading Monday.