Oprah Winfrey owned 10% of Weight Watchers between 2015, when she joined their board, and 2018, when she sold much of her stake in the company.
She purchased over $7.77 million shares in Weight Watchers stock for between $6.79 and $6.97 each. Late last year, she sold a portion of that stock for between $58.29 and $63.94 per share. The sale saved her about $40 million as of this week.
Weight Watchers stock prices dipped 29% due to weak fourth-quarter earnings and a dismal 2019 forecast. Winfrey still owns 5.4 million Weight Watchers shares according to the SEC. On Tuesday, her shares were valued at $160.18 million. By Wednesday, those shares lost $48 million in value. Wall Street predicted $347 million in sales for Weight Watchers, but they reached only $330 million during the fourth quarter. Analysts predicted $1.66 billion in sales for the company during 2019.
The launch of WW Freestyle gave the company a boost early in 2018, but 2019 was off to a soft start according to CEO Mindy Grossman. Weight Watchers rebranded as “WW” last year, dropping the word “weight” from its name. They intend to shift their focus from weight loss to holistic wellness solutions and weight management to support sustainable growth.
A new marketing plan to diversify their media and introduce new creative is expected to create new growth opportunities during 2019.