Weight Watchers' share price shot up considerably on Monday after suggestions that an unnamed investment fund is contemplating a take-over bid.
Slimming group faces troubling times
Weight Watchers is currently not a really appealing catch: it has reacted too slowly to the changing market, meaning it draws in fewer people for its slimming courses. In the first quarter of 2015, there were 17 % fewer participants than in the same period last year. Its North American drop is even 21 %, which is bad news for the company as that region is by far its most popular one.
The drop in participation levels was reflected in a spectacular crash of its share price: it trimmed down 86 % between mid-December 2014 and July 2015. According to The New York Post, that is exactly the situation an unnamed investment fund will use to take over the company. It would be willing to pay 8 dollars per share, which is about twice its value when the stock markets closed last Friday (4.09 dollar).
The entire story is being followed meticulously in Belgium, as 51 % of the company's shares belong to the Luxembourg group Artal, which is turn is controlled by the Belgian Ullens de Schooten and Wittouck families. These families sold the Tiense Suikerraffinaderij in 1990 to German SüdZucker and subsequently bought Weight Watcher in 1999 from sauce manufacturer H.J. Heinz.