NEW YORK, Aug 12, 2004 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (NYSE: MSO) today announced that it has acquired Body & Soul magazine from New Age Publishing, Inc. and Dr. Andrew Weil's Self Healing newsletter from Thorne Communications, Inc. for approximately $6 million in cash. This acquisition is part of MSO's larger strategy to expand into attractive emerging markets that offer the company opportunities to apply its proven omni-business model to help bring these markets into the mainstream.
In making the announcement, Sharon Patrick, MSO's President and CEO, said: "This is another important step in evolving MSO as a 'how-to' brand building company offering multiple brands built on expert information, inspiration and products dedicated to educating and improving lifestyles. We are delighted with the potential creation of shareholder value that is offered by bringing the Body & Soul brand - and its strong and proven management - under the MSO umbrella. Body & Soul provides MSO with the opportunity to both enter a new, promising market and to launch 'natural living' as a new 'omni' lifestyle category and brand for the company. Akin to Martha Stewart Living, Body & Soul's editorial concept combines seven niches in an emerging natural living category."
The seven natural living core content areas are healthy eating; exercise and fitness; mental health; spiritual well-being; natural and integrative medicine therapies; natural home; and stress-reduction techniques. Given its personal - as opposed to home - orientation, Body & Soul is independent and distinct from, while at the same time complementary to, the Martha Stewart Living brand. The natural living category appeals directly to Martha Stewart Living's core demographics, offering the company significant opportunities to develop another new lifestyle brand that leverages MSO's media and merchandising platforms, infrastructure and cross-promotional capabilities, and to provide new media programs and products to consumers, who rely on MSO everyday to teach and demystify important aspects of living.
The acquisition of Body & Soul and Dr. Andrew Weil's Self Healing newsletter follows MSO's announcement last week of the launch of Everyday Food, a new television program that will air on PBS stations nationwide beginning January 2005. Body & Soul joins Everyday Food, Martha Stewart Living, Martha Stewart Weddings, Kids and Petkeeping with Marc Morrone as the sixth "how-to" brand under the MSO banner.
The acquisition of Dr. Andrew Weil's Self Healing newsletter complements the Body & Soul magazine and extends the brand into information areas new to MSO. As important, it brings with it the expert authority of Andrew Weil, M.D., the Integrative Medicine expert who has been instrumental in transforming the way Americans think about health. The Body & Soul brand is also home to other experts in the natural living field, including organic farmer MaryJane Butters, life coach Cheryl Richardson, green consumer advocate Annie Berthold-Bond, and Body & Soul Editor-In-Chief and fitness expert Seth Bauer.
"We at Body & Soul are thrilled with the immediate synergies that exist between MSO and our brand," said Janesse Bruce, CEO for both New Age and Thorne. "Given our strong heritage and pioneer status in the natural living space, we believe that we bring authenticity - MSO's hallmark - to this emerging category. Consumers are looking for advice and inspiration about how to live a more natural and healthy life; prepare and eat fresher, simpler and more natural foods; incorporate fitness and exercise that is right for them into their busy lives; develop practical ways to better manage stress; and find balance in their lives. As it has done successfully with the domestic arts, MSO offers the stature, media and merchandising skills, distribution and other infrastructure, and financial resources necessary to leverage our heritage as an authority in the natural lifestyle marketplace, allowing us to provide our unique and inspirational 'how-to' natural living content to broader audiences."
Ms. Bruce will continue to manage the Body & Soul brand for MSO as the company's new Senior Vice President, Publisher and Managing Director. She will report to Ms. Patrick for overall brand strategy and management and to Lauren Stanich, MSO's President of Publishing, for day-today operations. Body & Soul will remain headquartered in Watertown, Massachusetts.
Ms. Stanich added: "We believe that there is a growing group of American consumers who are seeking useful, simplified information about how to achieve a healthier, more natural lifestyle. Furthermore, a significant and increasing segment of our existing readership is seeking reliable, high-quality 'how-to' information about healthy living. Given these strong trends, we intend to use MSO's creative and other talent to help Body & Soul redesign the magazine, secure national advertising, and use our cross-promotional abilities through circulation and online marketing to grow the magazine and newsletter into a much larger 'how-to' omni-brand with companion television and merchandising programs and brand labels, just as we have done with the Martha Stewart Living brand and brand labels."
Body & Soul magazine was launched in 1974 as the New Age Journal. It was renamed Body & Soul in 2001, as the topics and themes it had always covered - organic food, natural medicine, mind-body fitness, environmentally conscious consumerism, and spiritual and personal growth - began to enter the mainstream as interests of American women. According to The Natural Marketing Institute, the natural lifestyle market is estimated to include more than 60 million active consumers and $227 billion in annual spending. The magazine, which is published eight times a year, has a circulation of 200,000. In 2003, Ms. Bruce repositioned the magazine, adopting a "how-to" focus and adding nationally recognized experts.
Dr. Andrew Weil's Self Healing newsletter, launched by Thorne Communications, Inc. in 1995, is the nation's leading Integrative Medicine newsletter. Dr. Weil, the recognized authority on Integrative Medicine and holistic health, is a Harvard-trained physician who rose to international prominence as one of the country's first advocates of Integrative Medicine, which combines natural cures and practices with the best of Western medicine. His ideas and passion have led to nine books, including a number of best sellers, numerous television appearances, the creation of the Program for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, and thousands of grateful patients.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. (MSO) is a leading provider of original "how-to" information that turns dreamers into doers, inspiring and engaging consumers with unique lifestyle content and high-quality products. MSO is organized into four business segments -- Publishing, Television, Merchandising and Internet/Direct Commerce.
This press release contains certain "forward-looking statements," as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts but instead represent only our current beliefs regarding future events, many of which, by their nature, are inherently uncertain and outside of our control. These statements can be identified by terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "could", "expects," "intends," "plans," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "potential" or "continue" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. The Company's actual results may differ materially from those projected in these statements, and factors that could cause such differences include further adverse reaction to the prolonged and continued negative publicity relating to Martha Stewart by consumers, advertisers and business partners; further adverse reaction by the Company's consumers, advertisers and business partners to the outcome of Ms. Stewart's legal proceeding arising from a sale of non-Company stock by Ms. Stewart; a loss of the services of Ms. Stewart; a loss of the services of other key personnel; an adverse resolution to the SEC enforcement proceeding currently underway against Ms. Stewart arising from her personal sale of non-Company stock; adverse resolution of some or all of the Company's ongoing litigation; downturns in national and/or local economies; shifts in our business strategies; a softening of the domestic advertising market; changes in consumer reading, purchasing and/or television viewing patterns; unanticipated increases in paper, postage or printing costs; operational or financial problems any of our contractual business partners; the receptivity of consumers to our new product introductions; and changes in government regulations affecting the Company's industries. Certain of these and other factors are discussed in more detail in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, especially under the heading "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations", which may be accessed through the SEC's World Wide Web site at http://www.sec.gov. The Company is under no obligation to update any forward- looking statements after the date of this release.