Adviser hire sparks sales talk for Martha Stewart

MARTHA Stewart Living Omnimedia has hired an investment bank to advise it on its options, a signal that the company founded by the cooking star may seek a partnership or a sale.

The move to hire the Blackstone Group, which sent shares of the company up more than 20 per cent yesterday, comes after several years of sales declines in its magazine publishing, television and merchandising businesses. Between 2007 and 2010, revenue fell by more than a quarter.

The company, whose stock market value is just above $200m (£123m), said yesterday that it hired Blackstone after other parties approached it about becoming a partner or investor.

However, the firm cautioned that there was no guarantee that hiring Blackstone meant any transaction or partnership would happen.