Martha Stewart on Buying Rights to Emeril Lagasse Franchise

This is a rush transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," February 19, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Bam. Shares of Martha Stewart Living surging 70 percent. The company is snapping up most of the Emeril Lagasse empire for $45 million, plus $5 million in stock. Now, that deal includes TV shows, cookbooks, and kitchen products.

So, what is Martha Stewart really up to? Well, we thought we would ask her. She joins us now in this exclusive chat.

Now, we should point out, the profits at Martha Stewart Living more than doubling in the latest quarter, still shy of estimates. You know that Wall Street thing. Revenues were up 22 percent.

Martha, good to have you.


CAVUTO: Man, oh, man. You know, I was at a mall recently, not an experience I treasure, having nothing to do with how you have made this an iconic event for people. You are everywhere.


CAVUTO: You are everywhere. I mean — I'm just wondering, I know you are at Kmart. I know you are at Macy's. And your brand is — is iconic. Do you ever wonder whether you are too everywhere?

STEWART: Well, does Ralph Lauren wonder if he's every — too everywhere? I don't think so.

I think — I think, if you have beautiful product and excellent product and practical product and useful product that is well-made, long- lived, and relatively inexpensive, then you are not too much — you are not too everywhere.

And look at this stuff. This is showing...


CAVUTO: You always bring stuff with you. You always bring stuff.

STEWART: I do. I do. It's show-and-tell time.

CAVUTO: You are such a good marketer.

STEWART: But these beautiful embroidered Trousseau linens, one of our best sellers at our new Martha Stewart collection at Macy's, gorgeous.

CAVUTO: How much would that go for?

STEWART: Well, the pillowcase itself is — let me see if it says the price on it here — $85.


STEWART: It is so beautiful. Go up Madison Avenue, it will be three or four times that.

Beautiful Wedgwood. Our line is now number one on the Macy's wedding registry. And I am very, very pleased about that, because the colors surprising, robin's egg blue borders, a beautiful green border.

These are iconic Martha Stewart kinds of things.

CAVUTO: And you give the final approval with this stuff, right?

STEWART: Oh, yeah. I...

CAVUTO: If it doesn't pass muster with you, it's not getting out there?

STEWART: Well, what I like to say all the time to my wonderful design team and wonderful creative people is, do you want it? And if the answer is no, then pretty much we hope it won't get in the line.

CAVUTO: All right. But most people are not as finicky as you, right?

STEWART: Well...

CAVUTO: So, if it passes a test with you, I guess...

STEWART: Well, you have to be finicky.


STEWART: And you have to really care about what you are putting out there for people to eat, to drink, to sleep on, to cook with. And that is why the Emeril thing today.

CAVUTO: Yes, what is the...


CAVUTO: What is happening?


STEWART: Well, this is our first big acquisition.

CAVUTO: My impression with him is that he is yesterday's news.

STEWART: Oh, well, how can you say that? Emeril...

CAVUTO: I love him, don't get me wrong.

STEWART: Yes, I know.

CAVUTO: But he has moved on, right?

STEWART: Just because of the Food Network, Emeril has lots of options and lots of opportunities. And you will be hearing more about all of that soon.

But he has a wonderful line of products that he works really hard on. It's not like he just signs his name to a contract. He really works on those products.

CAVUTO: He has patented the bam thing, hasn't he?

STEWART: Well, that's him.

CAVUTO: That's him.

STEWART: That's Emeril.

I have known him before — since before he opened his first restaurant. And I met him down in New Orleans and really liked him. We have remained friends. And my chairman, Charles Koppelman, said to us one day, I said, you know, what about Emeril? What a great, great companion brand for Martha Stewart.

And it has happened. So, we are very happy. I think Emeril is very happy. Yesterday...

CAVUTO: Well, what will you do with him? What is he going to...

STEWART: Well, he has a line of extraordinary pots and pans with All- Clad. And it is called Pro-Clad.

CAVUTO: Right.

STEWART: He has a wonderful line with Wedgwood, totally different from this, Wedgwood Waterford, glassware. He has food products. He has electronic products, a wonderful steamer, a fryer. There's lots of places for him to go with all of that stuff.

CAVUTO: It's just his personality seems diametrically opposed to yours?


STEWART: Well, that's good. Why would do I want someone that is just like me? I don't. I'm me. And he's he. And he's...

CAVUTO: Well, where will we find his stuff being sold through your name?

STEWART: He's him.

Excuse me?

CAVUTO: Where will we find his stuff being sold? Will it be Kmart, Macy's?

STEWART: Oh, well, right now, it's sold in many, many places.

CAVUTO: I got you.

STEWART: And he doesn't necessarily have to come to the same place that I am. There is a lot of opportunity out there for Emeril. And I am sure we will be hearing all about that very soon.

CAVUTO: Let me ask you — and I mentioned this last time, when there was the threat of our going into a slowdown, Martha — that it might impact your sales and earnings. We clearly did not see that in the latest quarter.

And I think we had talked about this idea that people, when times get tough, kind of cocoon a little bit.


CAVUTO: And they pay more attention to their home. Is that what is going on here?


Well, people do spend money on their — on themselves and their environment. They do not necessarily buy more houses, but — and not in this market. Everybody is waiting for the great big bargain, and I think the bottom of the market, who knows when that will be?

CAVUTO: What do think?


STEWART: Well, it is hard to tell.


STEWART: This is not — with this election and everything that is going on with that, with the uncertainty of the war still and the uncertainty of the recession that everyone is talking about, I do not know. I really don't know. And we are being cautious. We are not boastful of anything right now. We have to be very careful.

CAVUTO: But you are weathering it just fine.

STEWART: Oh, we're in many different areas that I think...

CAVUTO: And price points, right? And that's by design.

STEWART: Yes, and many price points, too. You're right.

And it's designed. That is our strategy, and to be where the customer needs and wants us. And that is terribly important to me and to the rest of our company. And the product speaks for itself. It is really, really good product.

So, we're — we have Costco. We have foods at Costco now.


STEWART: I haven't talked to you about that.

CAVUTO: I can't picture you shopping at Costco.

STEWART: It's my favorite store.

CAVUTO: Is it really?

STEWART: Oh, except for Macy's and Kmart.

CAVUTO: That's so cool. You know, certain images. You don't...

STEWART: No, I love it.

No, Costco is — have you been to a Costco lately?

CAVUTO: I have, but it's sort of like catching the late Jackie O. there.

STEWART: I cannot get out — I cannot get of out there without like three shopping carts full of stuff.

CAVUTO: You mentioned unresolved issues like the political campaign.

I think you were a Hillary Clinton backer. Are you still?

STEWART: Well, I am a supporter of Hillary.

CAVUTO: Right.

STEWART: And, yet, it is so chaotic and so nerve-racking. Every day, things change. And I wish Hillary well. I wish the Democrats well. I wish...

CAVUTO: So, whoever it is, you want the Democratic nominee?

STEWART: Well, I would like that, but — definitely — but I'm really, really just worried about this long campaign and taking up so much energy and so much newsprint.

CAVUTO: It does drag on. It does drag on.

STEWART: Oh, my gosh. But...

CAVUTO: Have people ever asked you to run for office?

STEWART: Well, I — you know, a while ago, that would have been a fine option. But I don't know about now.

CAVUTO: Now you can't pursue...


STEWART: I have a fantastic career and I have a fantastic company. And we are really working hard to make it the best of its kind. And it is kind of unique, so...

CAVUTO: All right, so real quick take on a potential recession. You say that...

STEWART: Caution.

CAVUTO: ... even if it comes to that, caution, but you will do OK?

STEWART: We hope so.


All right, Martha Stewart, you look great.

STEWART: Thank you.

CAVUTO: Congratulations again. It's so odd that this product just appears every time you are here.

STEWART: I just love it. Don't you?


CAVUTO: You're the best marketer. I'm telling you, there is no one like you.

Maybe Trump. Maybe Trump. But that's a whole 'nother issue.

STEWART: Oh, don't — don't compare me, no, no, no.

CAVUTO: That's another issue.


CAVUTO: Martha Stewart, thank you very much.

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