Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is about to get a lot more of the Martha Stewart touch: She is expected to rejoin its board of directors in the third quarter of this year, the company announced Wednesday.
MSLO also announced that Oxygen Media co-founder Lisa Gersh will join the company as president and chief operating officer effective June 6, 2011. She will be responsible for day-to-day operations and the company's businesses. The plan calls for Gersh, who will report to executive chairman and principal executive officer Charles Koppelman, to become CEO within 12-20 months.
Shares in the company soared early Wednesday, perhaps because of the company's announcement that investment and advisory firm Blackstone Advisory Partners "has been retained to review and respond to various parties that have expressed interest in potentially partnering with or investing in the company, as well as exploring other opportunities."
The announcement raised the possibility that the company could be sold. As of 10:20 ET, shares had climbed more than 21.75 percent to $4.59.
"As the founder and largest stockholder, I fully support this initiative to take our business and iconic brand to the next level," Stewart said in a statement.
Stewart served five months in prison after she was convicted of lying to investigators about a 2001 sale of Imclone shares. A 2006 settlement of the charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission barred her from being a director or officer in a public company for five years.
Gersh was Oxygen's president and chief operating officer from 1998 until 2007, when Oxygen was acquired by NBC Universal. She later filled several roles for NBC, including most recently president of strategic initiatives.