Martha Stewart Living stock
leaps to 2-yr highs
Thu Sep 23, 2004
NEW YORK, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Martha Stewart
Living Omnimedia Inc.'s (MSO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) stock
soared more than 18 percent to its highest level in more than
two years on Thursday, a day after the company said reality
TV producer Mark Burnett would help develop a new prime-time
TV series featuring Stewart.
Shares climbed to their highest levels since
June 2002, just before reports of Stewart's personal trades
in biotech company ImClone Systems Inc. (IMCL.O: Quote, Profile,
Research) stock first surfaced.
Stewart was convicted in March of lying to
investigators about her sale of ImClone shares and is expected
to begin serving a five-month prison sentence next month.
News of the TV project is creating optimism
among investors about the vitality of Stewart's brand name,
which has been damaged following her criminal conviction, said
William Mack, a Standard & Poor's stock analyst who tracks
the media and merchandising company.
"It could have carry-over effects because
it benefits her image and brand," he said of the TV deal
with Burnett, creator of the popular TV shows "Survivor"
and "The Apprentice."
Omnimedia shares have jumped more than 50
percent since Stewart announced last week that she wanted to
begin serving her prison term as soon as possible instead of
waiting for an appeal of her conviction to be heard.
Omnimedia shares climbed as high as $17.75,
before trading up $2.47, or 16.49 percent, $17.45 shortly before
midday on the New York Stock Exchange.