International multimedia company (NYSE: MSO) that includes a monthly magazine, Martha Stewart Living ®, two quarterly magazines, Martha Stewart Weddings™ and Martha Stewart Baby; and special-issue magazines such as Martha Stewart Holiday. The monthly itself had 2.3 million subscribers at its peak (about 1.8 million at the time of Martha Stewart's conviction (see below). Other company products: a nationally syndicated Emmy award winning daily one-hour TV program, Martha Stewart Living (also seen in Canada, Japan, and Brazil); PetKeeping with Mark Morrone (Stewart herself does not appear on it); a daily cable TV program on the Food Network From Martha's Kitchen™ ; weekly appearances on The Early Show on CBS; and periodic network primetime TV specials. There are books written by Martha Stewart and the editors of her magazines; a syndicated newspaper column, "askMartha" ® (200+ newspapers); a national radio show on 280 stations, "askMartha"; a mail-order catalog and online merchandising business, Martha by Mail; strategic merchandising relationships with Kmart, Sherwin-Williams, Sears Canada, Seiyu Ltd., Zellers, and P/Kaufmann; and the website, marthastewart.com. (the only part of the business that is not profitable).
When Martha Stewart launched her magazine in 1991, she needed Time Warner to shoulder most of the red ink. But she couldn't use the content in her (privately owned) TV show, books, or newspaper column: in Time Warner's eyes, Stewart was merely an editor, and there was no incentive for Time to cross-market to her other properties. After six years, the magazine was in the black, circulation being eight times what it was in '91. And Stewart moved to consolidate her empire. In 1997, she bought back a controlling interest in her magazine. She took her weekly TV show into daily syndication, and she ended her contract with NBC and moved to CBS. In 1999, she took the company public on the New York Stock Exchange, with herself as Chairman and CEO.
Did you know that before she became a caterer and decorator, Martha Stewart was a stockbroker on Wall Street?
Stewart owns approximately 61% of the company stock. She is-- er, was-- also the chairman and CEO.
Allegations of insider trading by Stewart of ImClone stock in 2002 have dropped the price of shares of MSO by 40%. On June 4, 2003, the Federal government indicted Stewart on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and securities fraud. That same day, she stepped down as President and CEO. She remains on the company's board.
A note about the merchandising, which currently makes up between 10 and 20% of her business: Martha Stewart has her name on 5000 products of bed and bath accessories, baby items, interior paints, craft kits, outdoor furniture, garden tools, and housewares. (In 2000, Kmart sold US $1 billion in Martha Stewart products). And because MSO manufactures none of these, merely lends the name to them, the profit margin here is an extraordinary 99%. In addition, Stewart's legal woes have made advertisers skittish and thus her publishing and television ventures lost money in 2003-- not so the Kmart line, which saw an increase in sales of 9% over 2002. Kmart will distribute the Martha Stewart Everyday line (which accounts for 5% of its annual sales) until at least 2008.
Forget about handcrafting table centerpieces. I want her to teach me how to create a business plan.
Janet Adamy, Matthew Rose, and Suzanne Vranica. "Living - Without Martha." Wall Street Journal. March 8, 2004.
Diane Brady, "Martha Inc.", Business Week, <http://www.businessweek.com/2000/00_03/b3664001.htm> (Accessed July 6, 2001)
Derek Caney, "Grande Dame of 'Gracious Living' Martha Stewart ," Reuters.com, 2 June 2003, <http://reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=businessNews&storyID=2872229> (Accessed June 3, 2003)
Sara Hazlewood, "Martha Stewart Kicks Ass," Salon, <http://www.salon.com/business/feature/2000/11/07/martha/> (Accessed July 6, 2001)
Constance L. Hays, "Martha Stewart Indicted by U.S. on Obstruction," New York Times, 5 June 2003, <http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/05/business/05MART.html> (Accessed June 5, 2003)
Angela G. King, "Time for Martha to Control Empire," NY Daily News, 5 February 1997, <http://www.nydailynews.com/archive/97_02/020597/city_lif/11851.htm> (Accessed July 6, 2001)
Brian Lund, "Martha Stewart's Hot, But Costs Too Much," The Motley Fool, <http://www.fool.com/news/2000/mso000314.htm> (Accessed July 6, 2001)
Reuters, "Factbox-Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc." June 2, 2003.