MSLO Slims Q3 Loss, Names Dienst CEO

Daniel DienstDaniel Dienst

NEW YORK-Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) reported a drastically reduced third-quarter net loss, and has appointed Daniel Dienst CEO.

The loss for the quarter, which ended on Sept. 30, was $4.3 million, compared to a $50.9 million loss in last year's third quarter (which included a one-time charge of $44.3 million for goodwill impairment). Total revenues fell 22.3 percent to $33.8 million, with much of this decline occurring in the publishing and broadcasting segments. Merchandising revenue increased 7 percent in the quarter.

Along with the absence of the one-time charge, MSLO cut its production, distribution and editorial expenses by 32.3 percent. Selling, promotion, general and administrative expenses also dropped, by 14.6 percent.

Ken West, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said MSLO has taken "strategic steps" to refocus its publishing operations around the Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings magazines, along with the company's digital properties. West added that the recently revised agreement with J.C. Penney "assures the availability of Martha-branded products in targeted categories at J.C. Penney stores and online. These recent developments are encouraging, but we have much more work ahead."

Dienst, former CEO of Sims Metal Management and one-time chairman and chief executive of Metals USA, is succeeding Lisa Gersh, who left as CEO earlier this year. He was recently appointed to the MSLO board, where he will continue to serve.

In a joint statement, the MSLO board said, "In his short time on the board, Dan has brought a fresh perspective to the business, which in combination with his operating skills, will help to strengthen our position and drive long-term growth."

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