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IPO MATCH-UP; STEWART, WWF DO WELL ON FIRST DAY OF TRADING.



Byline: Seth Sutel Associated Press

Would Martha Stewart stand a chance against Stone Cold Steve Austin Steven James Williams (born Steven Anderson on December 18 1964) better known by his ring name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, is an American actor and semi-retired professional wrestler. ? It might be a one-sided bout in the wrestling ring, but on Wall Street, Martha is proving to be a contender.

Companies associated with Stewart and pro wrestling both had hugely successful initial public offerings Tuesday, richly rewarding entrepreneurs who have succeeded in capturing devoted audiences through television, magazines, the Internet and merchandising.

It's hard to imagine those audiences having much in common - unless gladiator-esque titans like The Rock start donning aprons and baking Christmas cookies - but investors seem to agree that both companies offer tremendous value.

Shares of both World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. (MSLO, NYSE: MSO) is publishing and content provider founded by Martha Stewart. The Company's business activities center around the domestic arts. In 2005 MSLO reported revenues of US$209.5 million compared to US$187.  Inc. soared well above their offering prices in heavy trading, though both ended off their high levels for the day.

Stewart rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

World's largest marketplace for securities. The exchange began as an informal meeting of 24 men in 1792 on what is now Wall Street in New York City.
, a privilege often offered to executives bringing their companies public. What followed was a frenzy to buy up shares in her company.

Omnimedia's shares ended at $36.6250, off from its high of $49.50, but well over the offering price of $18 per share. The stock was the eighth-most traded on the NYSE NYSE

See: New York Stock Exchange
.

The WWF See Windows Workflow Foundation.  also had a body slam of an opening. It ended at $30 per share after going as high as $35, way over its offering price of $17. WWF was the fourth-most traded stock on the Nasdaq Stock Market Nasdaq stock market

The first electronic stock market listing over 5000 companies. The Nasdaq stock market comprises two separate markets, namely the Nasdaq National Market, which trades large, active securities and the Nasdaq Smallcap Market that trades emerging growth companies.
.

The rave reception for both companies marked a ringing endorsement for a strategy skillfully employed by both companies: delivering a specific niche audience to advertisers and eventually dominating the niche completely.

``We pioneered a new media category which is called lifestyle,'' Stewart said in an interview on CNBC CNBC Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (artificial intelligence)
CNBC Consumer News and Business Channel
CNBC Congress of National Black Churches, Inc.
. ``Nobody else ever did it before, and we did it, and we intend to really dominate this area for a very long time to come.''

Stewart uses two television shows, two monthly magazines, a radio show, a syndicated newspaper column and a Web site to dispense sensible ``how-to'' information for homemakers on cooking, gardening, and keeping homes running smoothly. She has also sold 27 books.

The WWF, for its part, has a hammerlock ham·mer·lock  
n.
1. A wrestling hold in which the opponent's arm is pulled behind the back and twisted upward.

2. Overwhelming dominance that is difficult if not impossible to overcome:
 on the young, male TV audiences coveted cov·et  
v. cov·et·ed, cov·et·ing, cov·ets

v.tr.
1. To feel blameworthy desire for (that which is another's). See Synonyms at envy.

2. To wish for longingly. See Synonyms at desire.
 so badly by big advertisers. Its main show, Raw is War, was the top-rated regularly scheduled cable TV program for 19 weeks through June 1999. WWF also produces 200 live events a year, creating story lines for more than 100 wrestling characters.

Targeting niche audiences is a media strategy used often with success by giant conglomerates like Time Warner Inc., where Stewart worked until two years ago. But it's less often that media entrepreneurs are able to start new companies from scratch and build up multiple media properties around them.

Both the WWF and Stewart have grown explosively in the past few years.

The WWF - which dwarfs its competition World Championship Wrestling For the Australian professional wrestling promotion, see World Championship Wrestling (Australia). For the poet, see William Carlos Williams.

World Championship Wrestling (WCW) was an American professional wrestling promotion which existed from 1988 to 2001.
, owned by Time Warner - earned $56 million in its last fiscal year on revenues of $252 million, up sharply from profits of $8.5 million the year before on revenues of $126.2 million. Stewart's Omnimedia had net income of $13 million last year on revenues of $180 million, compared to profits of $7 million on revenues of $109 million a year earlier.

Katherine Styponias, a media industry analyst at Prudential Securities, says both companies owe their success to doing ``a tremendous job building their brands . . . If you're able to cultivate premier content on its own, broadcasters will seek you out.''

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

PHOTO (1 -- color) NYSE president William Johnston and Martha Stewart anticipate the market's opening bell the day of Stewart's Omnimedia's IPO (Initial Public Offering) The first time a company offers shares of stock to the public. While not a computer term per se, many founders, employees and insiders of computer companies have found this acronym more exciting than any tech term they ever heard. .

Richard Drew/Associated Press

(2 -- color) Stone Cold Steve Austin, right, has a grip on The Rock at a World Wrestling Federation contest before the federation went public.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 20, 1999
Words:635
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