The empire created by the lifestyle guru is close to selling itself, reports the Wall Street Journal. The company is a shadow of its former self. Fred Katayama reports.
The doyenne of domesticity is close to getting a new home. The Wall Street Journal reports that Martha Stewart's company is nearing a deal to sell itself to the retail licensing company, Sequential Brands. No word of any terms. But her empire, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, is worth just $370 million on the stock market, a fraction of the $2 billion it commanded on its splashy public debut 16 years ago. It's a shadow of its former self. Once known for its popular magazines and books like Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings, it's now a money losing company where publishing is no longer the big revenue generator. The company licenses those titles today. Its broadcasting unit has stopped producing live TV shows. More than half of the company's revenue comes from merchandising. Her brand items are sold at retailers such as Macy's, Home Depot, and PetSmart, which carries her oven-baked dog treats. The lifestyle guru's company's climb hit a roadblock in 2004 when Stewart was convicted of lying about her sale of stock in the biotech company, ImClone Systems. She was sent to prison but later returned to her company, rejoining its board four years ago. Last year, her company settled a lawsuit with Macy's over a home products deal with Macy's rival, J.C. Penney. Martha Stewart's stock shot up 27 percent on the news Thursday, but it has plummeted 86 percent since its all-time peak in 1999.