By David Gill
NEW YORK–The acquisition of Emeril Lagasse’s media and merchandising business by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia means greater exposure and more power to the Emeril brand, according to Lagasse.
Early last month, the two parties completed the deal, which was announced in February. For a preliminary purchase price of $50 million—which could rise to as much as $70 million if certain performance targets are met in 2011 and 2012—Stewart’s organization has taken title to the Emeril Lagasse franchise, including his television programming, cookbooks, the emerils.com Web site and licensed kitchen and food products.
The latter includes the Emeril cookware line produced by All-Clad and the small kitchen-electrics line manufactured by T-Fal.
Lagasse said he viewed this agreement as the combination of “two incredible brands,” his own and Stewart’s. The marriage of Lagasse’s expertise in food with Stewart’s knowledge in the lifestyle arena is expected to provide even more muscle on the marketplace to Lagasse’s products.
“What Martha does for the lifestyle of people is incredible,” Lagasse said. “I’ve known her for a long time, even before I opened my first restaurant. She wanted to find a brand that would expand her brand, and now we have two brands with a passion for food and a passion for people.”
The strategy going forward, Lagasse said, will be centered around growing the Emeril brand. “Martha won’t try to Martha-ize my brand, and I won’t try to Emeril-ize Martha,” he said.
Even though production on Lagasse’s show on The Food Network, “Emeril Live,” ended, already filmed episodes will air later this year as the program goes into syndication. Lagasse will be featured on a new show, “Emeril Green,” on Discovery Communication’s Planet Green network. In addition, “Essence of Emeril,” also on the Food Network, is still in production.
“On [Emeril Green], I’ll consult with people as to what they want to learn about food and cooking. Then I take them shopping to show them what to buy, and then I take them into the kitchen and show them how to cook it.” Despite the “Emeril Green” title, Lagasse said the show “will not be a big push on ‘green’ products.”
According to a statement from Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, the assets obtained in the Emeril deal are expected to generate earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation of $8 million in the first full year of operation.