Marquee Brands to spend $215mn acquiring Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse from Sequential Brands
Sequential Brands Group, owner of the Martha Stewart lifestyle and homeware brand for the past four years (according to Forbes), has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell the property to Marquee Brands LLC. The deal will see Marquee pay an estimated cash consideration of US$175mn for the Martha Stewart Brand, which includes the Emeril Lagasse brand purchased by Martha Stewart in 2008, alongside a $40mn earnout opportunity.
The total sale price of $215mn will represent a significant decrease in price compared to the $355mn paid by Sequential for the brands in 2015. Sequential will reportedly use a large portion of the funds from the sale to pay off outstanding debts.
Sequential Brands Group Chairman William Sweedler commented, “This transaction gives us financial and operating flexibility and streamlines our business around core brands with the highest margins and attractive growth prospects. I believe this new focus will generate greater shareholder value.”
“This transaction allows Sequential to make meaningful progress in de-levering our balance sheet, which is a top priority,” said Karen Murray, CEO of Sequential Brands Group. “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.”
The transaction is expected to close in Q2, 2019. It is unknown whether the Martha Stewart brand will rework its operational strategy. Currently, the brand’s biggest outlet is Macy’s, where it is one of the store’s house brands for home furnishings and, according to Forbes, is successful.
Microsoft: Building a secure foundation to drive NASCAR
Microsoft is a key partner of The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) and together they are driving ahead to create an inclusive and immersive new fan experience (FX).
These long-term partners have not only navigated the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic with the use of Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365, but are now looking to a future packed with virtual events to enhance the FX, well beyond NASCAR’S famous Daytona racetrack.
“Together, we've created a secure environment that's allowed for collaboration, but the future is all about the fans”, said Melinda Cook, General Manager for Microsoft South USA Commercial Business, who cited a culture of transparency, passion, adaptiveness, and a growth mindset as to why this alignment is so successful.”
“We've partnered to create a fluid, immersive experience for the users that is supported by a secure foundation with Microsoft in the background. We are focused on empowering and enabling customers and businesses, like NASCAR, to reach their full potential. We do this with our cloud platform which provides data insights and security.”
“Our cloud environment allows NASCAR to move forward with their digital transformation journey while we are in the background,” said Cook who highlights that Microsoft is helping NASCAR
- Empower employees productivity and collaboration
- Improve fan engagement and experience
- Improve environment security and IT productivity
- Improve racing operations
Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 suite, enabled employees to work remotely, while staying productive, during the pandemic. “This allowed people to provide the same level of productivity with the use of video conference and instant messaging to collaborate on documents. Increased automation also allows the pit crews, IT, and the business to focus on safety, racing operations, and on the fan experience,” said Cook.
“We have started to innovate to create a more inclusive fanbase, this includes using Xbox to give people the experience of being a virtual racer or even leveraging some of the tools in Microsoft Teams to have a virtual ride along experience.”
“These environments are how we create a more inclusive and immersive experience for the fans. We're working on a virtual fan wall which allows people from new locations to participate in these events,” said Cook, who pointed out Microsoft was also helping bring legacy experiences alive from NASCAR’s archives.
“At Microsoft we can take it one level further by letting fans know what it's like to see the pit crew experience, the data and all the behind-the-scenes action. We will continue to improve automation with machine learning and artificial intelligence, from marketing to IT operations to finance to racing operations,” said Cook.
Christine Stoffel-Moffett, Vice President of Enterprise Technology at NASCAR, said: “Microsoft is one of our key partners. They have been instrumental in helping the NASCAR enterprise technology team re-architect our Microsoft systems to ensure an advanced level of security across our environment, contribute to our business outcomes, and focus on fan experience.”