There were a few things I liked about last week's announcement that Martha Stewart and Mark Burnett were gearing up for a new version of the popular TV show The Apprentice. For starters, it gives me the satisfaction of knowing that something substantial will come of Stewart's association with Burnett, after a rather drab concept for a show was revealed back in December.
From an investing angle, it also provides something that Donald Trump's version of the show didn't -- a worthy buying angle. While Trump's struggling casinos traded publicly on the way to bankruptcy, the more promising Trump Organization, pitched often during the show, remains privately held. If you wanted in on Trump's choice real estate holdings or his various endeavors -- from business suits to fragrances -- that generated a whopping $8.5 billion in sales last year, you were out of luck unless your first name was Melania.
With Stewart it's a different story: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Last week Seth Jayson took a closer look at the stock's outlandish valuation. Even though the company is entering its third year of sluggish sales and a lack of profitability, the stock is still trading at new highs -- more than likely the result of poor bearish souls who have scrambled to cover their positions in the mother of all short squeezes.
There was certainly a time when the stock was a bargain. Back in November of 2002, our Motley Fool Stock Advisor newsletter recommended the shares while it was trading in the single digits. It proved to be a great call, but even our popular stock-picking service got cold feet when the company wasn't showing any fundamental improvements and closed out that position with a 50% gain.
The shares have gone on to appreciate a few times over since then. With a short squeeze simply flushing out the pool of pessimists until a new wave of bears makes an even sounder argument of shorting the stock at higher levels, be wary of Stewart's revival.
Brand names have flocked to Trump's show. They will naturally do so for Stewart's sake as well. For Omnimedia, that may also translate into sponsorships throughout the company's various product lines.
The buzz is already building. On the General Electric
Despite her legal woes, Stewart may have a potent reinvention. Trump's version of the show is still testosterone-driven. Despite the presence of Trump's assistant Carolyn -- who gets better with every season -- it's still mostly a male-dominated organization, and both of its winners have been men. Having Stewart in a parallel show will place women with business acumen in a position of power, and that, as Stewart is known to say, would be "a good thing."
Yes, there are many women heading up major companies. Consider Meg Whitman at eBay
For investors afraid of Omnimedia's valuation, but interested in cashing in on the potential rise in Stewart's popularity, maybe it's time to consider Kmart
So where do you go from here?
- Read about Martha's other show with Burnett.
- Check out Seth Jayson's critical piece on shares of Martha's company.
- Are you the next Martha? Chat it up in our Crafty Fools discussion board.
- Check out the latest winning recommendations in our Stock Advisor service.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz believes that Martha is worthy of a second chance -- so he's still going to watch the new show. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.