In what it describes as a financially motivated transaction, Sequential Brands Group has signed a definitive agreement to sell the rights to the Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse brands and related intellectual property assets to Marquee Brands LLC for approximately $175 million, with an earnout opportunity of up to an additional $40 million.
Sequential said it expects the transaction to close in the second quarter. Other Sequential brands include Jessica Simpson, William Rast, Ellen Tracy, Avia, DVS and And1.
“This transaction allows Sequential to make meaningful progress in de-levering our balance sheet, which is a top priority,” said Karen Murray, Sequential Brands Group CEO. “This process was conducted after careful consideration by our board of directors and advisors. While we have made significant progress with the Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse brands, we determined the best direction for the company going forward is to focus on our core active and fashion brands and drive even more profitable growth across our business. I have confidence that the Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse brands will continue to flourish under new ownership as they build on what we have accomplished to date. We thank Martha for her support of Sequential and this transaction.”
In a separate statement, Marquee, owned by Neuberger Berman managed investor funds, said that the Martha and Emeril acquisition will give it a footing in new industry segments. Another result is the hiring of Carolyn D’Angelo by Marquee. She had been president of the Sequential home division.
“This transformative acquisition allows Marquee Brands to enter the home, food and media sectors,” said Zachary Sigel, managing director, Neuberger Berman. “The addition of new partners, customers and capabilities will further diversify Marquee Brands, improving its position as a preeminent global brand owner. The company is also excited to welcome Carolyn D’Angelo and her team. Carolyn is a proven executive with a track record of building brands in the home sector, who will serve as president of Marquee Brand’s home division and will contribute invaluable industry expertise to the organization in the next steps of its evolution.”
Martha Stewart stated, “I am thrilled to enter into this partnership with Marquee Brands, an organization that shares the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity on which I founded my business. In this ever-evolving retail and media environment, I am confident that Marquee’s business values, sophisticated digital expertise and international relationships will drive continued growth and position the Martha Stewart brand well for the future. My team and I look forward to embarking on this next chapter.”