July 19, 2004 -- Martha Stewart may have breathed a small sigh of relief on Friday over the seemingly paltry $30,000 fine that went along with her five-month jail term. But she was left far from unscathed financially. That's because the "domestic diva" ended up losing hundreds of millions of dollars in the aftermath of a trading scandal that netted merely thousands.
Stewart still owns approximately 60 percent of the shares in her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. And the marketing and publishing outlet took a severe financial hit as the scandal tarnished the image of its namesake.
The company's worth dropped more than 50 percent after Stewart's insider trading scandal broke, and Stewart's personal losses totaled more than $325 million in company holdings.
And all for a sale of Imclone Systems stock that netted her a $51,000 profit. Hardly seems worth it.
Stewart’s Net Worth Hit $1 Billion
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia went public with much fanfare in October 1999, raising $1.9 billion with the initial public offering and watching the stock climb to an all-time high $39.75 per share the following day.
The share price dipped from that high point during the next two years, but the company remained strong. In 2000, Forbes magazine estimated that Stewart, the company's chairwoman and CEO, was worth $1 billion, good for No. 383 on the magazine's annual list of the richest Americans.
By June 5, 2002, the day before news broke of the insider trading investigation, Stewart owned over 30 million company shares worth an estimated $591 million. The company was worth over $954 million.
But the stock plummeted as news of the scandal spread. Stewart's holdings dropped to $162 million by October 2002. In June 2003 she was indicted on nine federal counts related to her 2001 sale of Imclone Systems stock, and later had to give up positions as chairwoman and CEO of her company.
The company's worth has now fallen 73 percent since its inception, and Stewart has personally watched the value of her controlling stake tumble nearly $330 million.
Investors were apparently heartened by the news of Friday's relatively lenient sentence. The company's share price climbed nearly 40 percent in the hours after the sentencing and closed 37 percent higher at $11.81 per share.
But in retrospect, it's safe to say the losses have outweighed the gains.
Yet always the businesswoman, Stewart made a final public pitch for her company from the courthouse steps after learning her fate.
"Our magazines are great," she said. "They deserve your support, and whatever happened to me personally shouldn't have any effect whatsoever on the great company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia."