Martha Stewart Living acquired for $353 million

NEW YORK -- Martha Stewart single-handedly changed the game for home decorating and cooking in the late 1990s, becoming the "it" designer for all things domestic.

But the announcement Monday of an acquisition of her media and merchandising empire in a deal that values the company at far less than it was worth in its glory days shows how much her brand has eroded over the years.

Martha Stewart's is being sold to Sequential Brands Group, which owns and licenses such brands as Ellen Tracy and Jessica Simpson, in a deal valued at $353 million.

That's a fraction of the $1.8 billion valuation when the company went public in 1999.

"The days when people looked to one person to tell them how to entertain, live tastefully are gone," said Allen Adamson, chairman of Landor Associates, a brand research firm. "Today, there are many voices. She can't go back to retaking that mantle, because that mantle is gone."

It's a shift from when Stewart built her business, from books to TV shows, based on her penchant for decorating and cooking.

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