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April 6, 2018
In a mega-deal that brings together two prominent billion-dollar licensors, Sequential Brands has acquired Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
The acquisition, valued at $350 million based on $6.15 per share, expands Sequential’s portfolio of brands into new lifestyle categories such as home, pet and garden, and creates a licensor that will generate $3.75 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise worldwide.
This deal will position Sequential Brands to become a Top 20 global licensor based on the annual Top 150 Global Licensors report, which is published annually by License! Global.
"Martha Stewart's impact around the world is staggering, and the empire she founded is unmatched in its industry,” says Yehuda Shmidman, chief executive officer, Sequential Brands. “In fact, research shows that the Martha Stewart brand has 96 percent awareness among women in the U.S. and seven out of 10 women say that Martha has and does influence the way they think about, organize, and manage their homes.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Martha Stewart will continue to serve in the role of chief creative officer, Stewart will additionally become a significant stockholder of the new public holding company and will be nominated to serve on its board of directors.
Sequential Brands, which is ranked No. 35 on the 2015 Top 150 Global Licensors report with $2 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise worldwide, owns such properties as Justin Timberlake’s William Rast brand, Heely’s, Linens ’n Things, Ellen Tracy and Franklin Mint, and recently-acquired global athletic brands AND1 and Avia. In April, the company agreed to buy a 50 percent stake in Jessica Simpson’s fashion lifestyle brand. The company has strong retail partnerships that include Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart, Sports Authority, Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor.
“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,” Shmidman adds.
MSLO, which is ranked as No. 55 on the 2015 Top 150 Global Licensors report with $1 billion in retail sales of licensed merchandise worldwide, was founded in 1997. The acquisition gives the Martha Stewart Living brand greater opportunities to expand internationally. The company, which also owns the rights to the Emeril Lagasse brand, has several strong and exclusive retail partnerships with J.C. Penney, Home Depot, Staples, PetSmart, Macy’s, Michael’s and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores.
"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,” says Stewart. “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."
"This transformational acquisition marks an incredible milestone for Sequential as it not only delivers on the vision we put in place when we founded Sequential, but also sets the stage for the Company's next phase of growth,” says William Sweedler, chairman, Sequential Brands. "I look forward to Martha Stewart joining our board of directors and I'm excited for our future."
Sequential Brands obtained financing from GSO Capital Partners, an affiliate of Blackstone Group. The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of this year.
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