Martha Stewart is an American television personality and businesswoman with a net worth of $400 million. Her fortune is derived from a corporate empire that encompasses television, periodicals, and home goods.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia had an enormous IPO at the zenith of her career, which also happened to be the apex of the dot-com boom.
Martha Stewart became the first American self-made female billionaire on the day her firm went public. Unfortunately, once the bubble burst, the company’s market capitalization plummeted by more than 50%. This will be discussed more in this post.
Early Life and Career Beginnings
When she was three years old, her family relocated to Nutley, New Jersey. Stewart attended Barnard College of Columbia University after graduating from Nutley High School.
When she was a teenager, she worked as a model, appearing in television ads for Unilever and Tareyton. During college, she also worked as a model, supplementing her income by working with companies such as Chanel.
She met Andrew Stewart, a Yale Law School student, while in college. She graduated from Columbia in 1962 with a double degree in History and Architectural History, and they married in July 1961.
Stewart’s mother taught her how to cook and sew, while her father taught her how to plant. When she visited her grandparents in Buffalo, Additional York, she expanded on her talents by learning new procedures such as canning and preserving.
Stewart started working as a stockbroker in 1967, following in the footsteps of her father-in-law. She and her husband relocated to Westport, Connecticut, where they bought and renovated an ancient farmhouse.
Stewart subsequently went on to work in a variety of occupations and initiatives, including running her own catering company and managing a gourmet food shop. In the meanwhile, her husband Andrew had become the president of Harry N. Abrams, Inc., a New York City publishing house.
Mirken collaborated on a cookbook with Stewart after being impressed by her culinary and entertaining ability. “Entertaining,” her first book, was ghostwritten by Elizabeth Hawes and published in 1982.
Her debut book’s popularity helped establish her career, and she went on to write numerous additional novels under the Clarkson Potter banner.
“Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook” (1983), “Martha Stewart’s Hors D’oeuvres” (1984), “Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts” (1985), “Weddings” (1987), “The Wedding Planner” (1988), “Martha Stewart’s Secrets for Entertaining” (1988), “Martha Stewart’s Quick Cook Menus” (1988), “Martha Stewart’s Christmas” (1988), and “Martha Stewart (1989).
She also appeared on television shows such as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Larry King Live,” and wrote various newspaper columns and magazine pieces.
The inaugural issue of “Martha Stewart Living” was published in late 1990, with a circulation of 250,000. Stewart was also the editor-in-chief of the publication.
In 1993, a television program based on her magazine, “Martha Stewart Living,” premiered. The show began as a weekly half-hour program, but in 1999 it was enlarged to a full hour and aired until 2004.
Becoming a Billionaire
Stewart and her business partner Sharon Patrick received funds in September 1997 to buy all of the Martha Stewart Brand’s television, print, and merchandise endeavors.
All of these businesses were merged into Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO), with Stewart serving as chairperson, president, and CEO, and Patrick as COO.
MSLO went public on the New York Stock Exchange on October 19, 1999, with the ticker code MSO. The shares began trading at $18 a share. Prices had risen to $38 per share by the close of trade, making Stewart a paper billionaire.
Martha became the first female self-made billionaire in the United States as a result of her accomplishment. Her net worth was $1 billion at the time, which equates to about $1.6 billion now after inflation.
In December 2015, MSO joined Sequential Brands Group. Martha remained a significant stockholder. Sequential sold its Martha Stewart assets to Marquee Brands for $175 million in April 2019.
Stock Trading Case and Incarceration
Stewart averted a $45,673 loss in 2001, according to the SEC, by selling all 3,928 shares of her ImClone Systems stock after getting insider information from her Merrill Lynch broker. She allegedly got the purported tip while traveling on a private plane and completed the transaction before touching it down.
The government indicted her on nine charges, including securities fraud and obstruction of justice, on June 4, 2003. She subsequently resigned as CEO and Chairwoman of MSLO.
Stewart was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of official action, and giving false statements to federal investigators in March 2004. She was sentenced to five months in jail in 2004 and was given a two-year supervised release term. She also paid a $30,000 fine.
Interestingly, the price of MSLO shares increased during Martha’s jail sentence, restoring her billionaire status for the time being. Unfortunately, stock gains fell by 47% in the six months after Martha’s release, bringing her net worth back down to $500 million.
“The Martha Stewart Show,” which she hosted for five seasons from 2005 to 2010, was her comeback to daytime television.
At the 33rd Daytime Emmy Awards in 2006, the program garnered six nominations. In 2010, it was relocated to the Hallmark Channel, where it was renamed “Martha” and aired for two more years.
She has also published a number of books, including “Martha Stewart Baking Handbook” (2005) and “Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook” (2007). (2006).
Among the other businesses she has started are an upmarket line of homewares for Macy’s, a 24-hour satellite radio channel with Sirius, a line of carpet tiles with FLOR, Inc., and the Martha Stewart Vintage wine brand with E & J Gallo Winery, to mention a few.
Martha has a lot of residences around the nation, which is maybe unsurprising. Her real estate holdings are estimated to be valued at more than $100 million.
She purchased Skylands, a 67-acre mansion in Seal Harbor, Maine, in 1997, which was constructed in 1952 for car heir Edsel Ford. A 12-bedroom mansion is reached through a pink driveway. She paid $5.8 million for the 7-acre property next door in 2015.
Martha has a 152-acre estate in Katonah, New York, which she named Cantitoe Corners.
Martha has many flats in a building on Perry Street in New York City’s West Village. Martha is said to no longer dwell in any of her apartments, although her daughter Alexis is still a resident. Alexis Stewart comes to mind.
Alexis placed a separate multi-unit apartment building with over 9,000 square feet on the market in February 2019 for a mouth-watering $53 million.
Martha has a second apartment in New York City, this one on Fifth Avenue with Central Park views.