Stock Watch: Martha Stewart Living Lives Large

The initial public offering of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (Nasdaq: MSO), which includes an online shopping site, got a warm welcome from Wall Street on Tuesday. The IPO priced at $18, the top of its revised range and well above its original range of $13 to $15. The stock nearly doubled on Tuesday, closing up 17-9/16 to 35-9/16, a gain of 97.6 percent. This gain was impressive, but the stock ended up closing near its low of the day after trading as high as 52.

Unlike most pure-play Internet companies, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is a profitable company with strong earnings. Last fiscal year, the company had revenues of more than $180 million and net income of almost $24 million. In addition, the company could likely spin off its online division, which could unlock some value. One reason this scenario seems like a strong possibility is that venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufeld & Byers is an investor in Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Kleiner, of course, has fundede-commerce companies from Amazon.com to Drugstore.com.

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