Martha Stewart Buys the Emeril Brand: What's It Mean?
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has bought the Emeril brand for a cool $50 million ($45 million in cash, $5 million in stock). What does buying Emeril's brand entail exactly? Everything but the Bam! man's restaurants.
According to the Associated Press, Martha and company are buying:
- Television programming: The Essence of Emeril and syndication episodes of Emeril Live on the Food Network and food correspondent segments on ABC's Good Morning America
- Cookbooks: A library of 12 cookbooks, including Delmonico and There's a Chef in My World
- Web property: emerils.com
- Licensed kitchen products: Emeril-branded cookware by All-Clad, cutlery by Wüsthof, tableware by Wedgwood, electrical appliances by T-Fal
- Food products: Including Bam! B-Q sauce, spices, marinades, coffee, and more
What does all this really mean?
Emeril is cashing out while the bammin' is good. I have to think that this deal was a direct result of Emeril not getting a new deal from the Food Network. And if the syndication rights to Emeril Live are in fact part of the deal, did Martha have to buy those rights from the Food Network or had Emeril managed to snare those rights in his last Food Network negotiation?
Is Essence of Emeril going to continue on the Food Network? Somehow I don't think we'll be hearing any more about Emeril remaining a part of the Food Network family. Emeril gets to keep the real cash cows of his far-flung empire, the restaurants and his substantial appearance fees. Does this mean we'll be seeing Emeril's Good Morning America segments on marthastewart.com? All these questions were emailed to a MSO spokesperson, who declined to comment. I pose all these questions as an admirer of Emeril Lagasse, who in actuality has done a great deal to further the cause of great food in this country.
One final question: Will other rock-star brand-name chefs follow suit?