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The Drum

Martha Stewart, 73, sets sail on a new course - maybe taking in China

At its peak, Martha Stewart’s US home-making empire, was worth well over $1 billion.

Martha Stewart: Cooked a meal for the new boss

This week the company agreed to sell itself to Sequential Brands, a conglomerate whose brands include Jessica Simpson and the Franklin Mint, for just $353 million.

So has Martha, 73, "fallen from her throne," as one publication put it? Don’t count on that. Martha now sees the company - with her still there - expanding abroad, possibly including China.

The company suffered a blow 11 years ago when Stewart was convicted of obstructing justice and lying about a stock sale. She spent several months in prison . But she eventually reclaimed the title of chairwomanof the company that bears her name.

Now, the company itself will become a part of Sequential Brands, whose business revolves around buying brands and then licensing them out for a fee.

All told, Sequential Brands expects its portfolio to fetch nearly $3.75 billion in annual sales with the addition of Martha Stewart Living.

“This merger is positioned to further the growth and expansion of the unique Martha home and lifestyle brand,” Stewart said in a statement.

“We now have the opportunity to tap into Sequential’s expertise and resources to expand our merchandising business both domestically and abroad.”

Behind the deal to buy Stewart’s homemaking company is Yehuda Shmidman, the 34-year-old chief executive of Sequential Brands Group . He plans to reinvigorate growth at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia

Stewart, in an interview, told the Wall Street Journal she hopes selling to Sequential will give her brand a better platform than her business has provided.

“The brand has gotten away from the business,” said Stewart. “Our business is smaller than the potential and the power of the brand,” she said.

She said the deal with Sequential would l help the Martha Stewart brand grow in other parts of the world, including China.

Stewart, is currently the nonexecutive chairman and chief creative officer at her company. She will be chief creative officer of her brand at Sequential.

“I work hard and my energy level is still high,” she said Ms. Stewart. She is also expected to join the Sequential board.

And the homemaker hasn’t lost her touch, the New York Times reports. During deal negotiations she cooked a kosher Moroccan dinner for Shmidman as they discussed the deal.