NEW YORK - Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. is bringing in a new celebrity: popular TV chef Emeril Lagasse.
The New York-based media and merchandising company founded by domesticity maven Martha Stewart announced on Tuesday that it bought the rights to the Emeril Lagasse franchise of cookbooks, television shows and kitchen products for $45 million in cash and $5 million in stock at closing.
The final price could rise to up to $70 million if certain benchmarkets are achieved.
The company did not acquire Emeril's Homebase, which includes Lagasse's 11 restaurants and corporate office.
Martha Stewart Living said the deal will "contribute immediately to our performance," adding $8 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. The acquired assets generated $14 million in revenue in 2007.
Martha Stewart Living expects the deal to close in the second quarter.
Lagasse joined the Food Network in 1993 and has hosted over 1,600 shows. His programs "The Essence of Emeril" and "Emeril Live" reach more than 85 million homes daily.
Martha Stewart Living shares fell 10 cents to $6.03 in morning trading Tuesday.