J.D. Power & Associates, the influential car and consumer products research firm, has hired bankers and is looking into a possible sale, according to a newspaper report on October 18 cited by CNN/Money. The company hired Evercore Partners Inc., an investment firm with offices in New York and Los Angeles, according to the Wall Street Journal. A sale would likely put the firm into the hands of a large media or advertising conglomerate, the newspaper reported. J.D. Power, with about 600 employees worldwide, built its reputation researching consumers' opinions and preferences toward automobiles. Its surveys are frequently quoted by auto makers. In addition to auto surveys, the company conducts research in the telecommunications, real estate, banking, insurance and travel industries.