It was announced this morning that Sequential Brands Group has, indeed, purchased Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia for approximately $353-million, bringing an end to the independent status of the media and merchandising conglomerate founded by Martha Stewart in 1997. Martha Stewart herself will become a "significant shareholder" in a new public holding company that will be set up by Sequential Brands for Martha Stewart Living. She will also be nominated to serve on its board of directors. The deal is half cash, half stock. According to a news release, Martha will "continue to be an integral part of the brand she founded" and will maintain her title as Chief Creative Officer of her brand.
Comments from Martha regarding the sale:
"This is a transformational merger for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia,
the company I founded in 1997. This merger is positioned to further the
growth and expansion of the unique Martha home and lifestyle brand. In
1991, I started a magazine, Martha Stewart Living, which was the first
of its kind. Out of our groundbreaking editorial content grew an
influential brand which quickly evolved into other media, merchandising
and digital platforms and products which have helped consumers,
worldwide, live better, more fulfilling lives. With our media business operations now successfully
transitioned to Meredith, we now have the opportunity to tap into
Sequential's expertise and resources to expand our merchandising
business both domestically and abroad. The Sequential team is smart,
hardworking, and understands the power and limitless opportunity of the
Martha Stewart brand and its formidable design, editorial and marketing
teams. I'm looking forward to working with them."
Yehuda Shmidman, CEO of Sequential, commented:
"Martha Stewart's impact
around the world is staggering, and the empire she founded is unmatched
in its industry. In fact, research shows that the Martha Stewart brand
has 96% awareness among women in the U.S. and 7 out of 10 women say that
Martha has and does influence the way they think about, organize, and
manage their homes. Looking ahead, we believe that we can leverage our
global activation platform at Sequential in partnership with Martha and
her team to develop the next chapter of growth for the Martha Stewart
brand. We are honored to have this opportunity and thrilled to be
working together with Martha Stewart."
The deal will not be completely finalized until later this year.