Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has been bought by the retail licensing company Sequential Brands Group for about $353 million.
Sequential is acquiring the company for $6.15 per share in half cash, half stock.
Stewart will become a “significant stockholder” and chief creative officer of a new public holding company of Sequential and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
Stewart described the deal as a “transformational merger.” She recently relinquished control of her magazine to publisher Meredith.
“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,” Stewart said in a press release.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, which has been steadily losing money, was founded in 1997. The New York-based company was worth almost $2 billion when it went public in 1999. Stewart was forced to resign three years later after being charged with insider trading.
“The merger adds a new vertical to Sequential’s platform, which is expected to generate nearly $3.75 billion in annual global retail sales from a combined portfolio of consumer brands in the home, fashion, lifestyle and active categories,” Sequential said.
Sequential acquired a 50% stake in Jessica Simpson’s brand earlier this year and owns Justin Timberlake’s William Rast, Heely’s, Linens ‘n Things, Ellen Tracy and the Franklin Mint.
“Martha Stewart’s impact around the world is staggering, and the empire she founded is unmatched in its industry,” Sequential CEO Yehuda Shmidman said. “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.”