When I interviewed Wenda Harris Millard, the president of Media for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) in NYC the week before, I asked her about expansion beyond the Martha brand. She cited the quiet period before MSLO’s Q4 earnings and didn’t want to address it. Now it makes sense why: the firm is expected to acquire Emeril Lagasse‘s extensive media and licensed properties for $45 million in cash and $5 million in stock, reports WSJ, citing sources. The deal includes his TV programs, a dozen cookbooks and Lagasse’s website, and other sundry products such as his branded salt. (Pic on the right: Emeril at Natpe earlier this year)
In January, Fortune reported that MSLO was in talks with fashion designer Cynthia Rowley and Jonathan Adler, known for his home decor, on acquiring their brands for the company, but the talks broke off. This also means that Emeril’s acquisition is not the only one the company will be doing.
This is the first major acquisition by MSLO in an attempt to move beyond Martha’s brand. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter. MSLO’s Q4 earnings call is later today…more then.
Update: The release is now out: The original report was correct on the cash and stock breakdown of the buy, although it could rise to $70 million if certain performance targets are reached in 2011 and 2012. The deal is expected to close in Q207, and the new assets are expected to generate $8 million EBITDA in the first year of operation. Release.