Homemaker Hits Wall Street

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Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., New York, among the hottest household words for everything associated with America's homes, announced this week it was going public with Martha Stewart herself at the helm as chairman/CEO.


Although the company did not detail how many shares it would offer in its IPO,


market watchers long expected the leading homemaker to eventually integrate her magical entrepreneurial "good things" into something really big.


Of course, Martha Stewart is already big. The company reports that sales of Martha Stewart-branded products hit $763 million in 1998 -- nearly a 100 percent increase from the previous year. And the company's overall revenue for 1998 was $180 million with operating income at $27.4 million -- a jump of 36 percent and 65 percent, accordingly from 1997's figures according to SEC documents.


Besides enjoying success in recent years marketing her personal perspective, advice and timely tips on modern homemaking, she also sits on the board of cosmetics giant Revlon Inc. Her complete line of products ranging from bed and bath items to arts and crafts, furniture and gardening tools also has become a hit through the company's direct marketing division, Martha by Mail, which drops its Fall catalog in two weeks.


Martha Stewart Omnimedia has yet to announce a stock ticker symbol. But shares are expected to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange. The underwriters for the IPO are Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns, Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette and Banc of America Securities.
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