Oprah Winfrey, mostly known from her American talk shows but equally adept at business, has paid 43.2 million dollars (38 million euro) for 10 % of Weight Watchers International's shares.
Option to buy another 5 %
Not only will Winfrey own 10 % of the company, she will also be the face of its new advertising campaign. Weight Watchers International approached Oprah Winfrey, who has been using the program for 2 months now. She plans to publicly show her progress and she will also appear in ads and become part of the board of directors.
She has not only acquired 10 %, she also has an option to acquire another 5 %. If she chooses to do so, she will then become the company's second largest shareholders, trailing Invus Public Equities Advisors with 51.5 % of all shares.
Share went up a lot
The Oprah Winfrey collaboration immediately had its positive effect on the company's share, which soared 105 % after the announcement. The share peaked in May 2011, but had lost 92 % of its value since then.
The company now hopes it can lure back customers thanks to this high profile collaboration. An increasing number of people choose to eat healthier food and to lose weight like that instead of doing specific diets. The growing popularity of "fitness trackers" and calorie-focused apps have made life very difficult for Weight Watchers.