Marquee Brands Is Betting on Martha Stewart

Marquee Brands — the licensing company that owns Bruno Magli, BCBG and Ben Sherman — announced on Wednesday that it will buy the Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse brands for more then $200 million, diversifying beyond its apparel, accessories and activewear portfolio into home and lifestyle.

The brands’ current owner, Sequential Brands Group, is also the parent company of the Jessica Simpson Collection, the wheeled-footwear label Heelys and the skate shoe label DVS. In a news release, the firm said that it will receive $175 million for the rights to the brands and their intellectual property, plus another $40 million if the business achieves certain financial goals.

“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,” said Sequential Brands Group CEO Karen Murray.

This is Marquee Brands’ second acquisition in less than six months: In December, it bought the outdoor sports and lifestyle label Dakine for an undisclosed amount. The company’s total portfolio generates sales of more than $1.5 billion, it said.

Beyond her status as a lifestyle legend, Stewart has close ties to the footwear industry: Last fall, she signed on as a collaborator and brand ambassador for comfort shoe label Aerosoles, and shortly after, she launched a budget-friendly collection with Payless ShoeSource. (The latter is currently on sale as the bankrupt retailer continues liquidation sales at more than 2,000 stores nationwide.)

Stewart will join the team at Marquee Brands as part of the acquisition, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2019.

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