In an April 21 statement to Contractor Supply magazine, the president of Empire Level said the company has signed a letter of intent to be acquired by Milwaukee Electric Tool. Empire Level’s design and manufacturing facility in Mukwanago, WI is expected to remain operational.

A Milwaukee spokesperson told the Milwaukee BizTimes that “During this time, Empire Level will continue to run as a separate business apart from Milwaukee Tool.  Since we are in the middle of our due diligence, we cannot provide any further comments.”

The relationship between Milwaukee and Empire goes back a few years; Empire, which makes Milwaukee’s torpedo level, is located about 20 miles away from Milwaukee's Brookfield, WI headquarters.

The purchase of Empire is part of an ongoing cycle of consolidation within the tool industry. Milwaukee bought titanium hammer maker, Stiletto, in 2007 and is itself a subsidiary of Techtronic Industries (TTi), a Hong Kong based company that owns the following brands:

2000 Ryobi (power tools; outdoor power equipment)
2001 Homelite (chainsaws; outdoor power equipment)
2002 Dirt Devil (vacuum cleaners)
2005 Milwaukee (power tools; hand tools; accessories)
2005 AEG (power tools—primarily sold in Europe)
2007 Hoover (vacuum cleaners)
2013 Oreck (vacuum cleaners)
Hart Tools (hammers; clamps; pry bars)

Empire is itself a product of consolidation, having acquired several companies in the last 40 years:

1975 Merley Squares (squares)
1987 Peerless Level Company (wood levels)
1995 Thor Manufacturing Company (caution tape)
2000 Hempe Manufacturing (precision tools/miter boxes)
2000 Custom Plastics (advanced engineering)
2010 American Level (mahogany levels)