Weight Watchers' Bad News Is Oprah's Bad News

Shares are down by a third after a disappointing start to 2019
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2019 12:24 PM CST

(Newser) – Oprah Winfrey's Weight Watchers investment slimmed way down—at least on paper—Wednesday morning. Shares fell 36% to $18.90 after trading began on the company's news the prior day that 2019 is off to a disappointing start, eating $58 million of Oprah's value. (The year's start is a key financial time for companies in the health space.) Don't feel too bad for her, though. Fortune notes she's worth an estimated $3.5 billion, and Winfrey's 10% share of the company was purchased in 2015 for $6.79 a share, so her stock has tripled in value. But it was at one time worth much, much more: The 52-week high is $105.73. Shares are currently trading at $19.80.

USA Today's take: "The company rebranded as WW in 2018 with Winfrey's blessing, aiming to ride a wave of interest in wellness and natural ingredients. But the pivot away from a clear focus on weight loss may be sputtering." They're engaging Oprah as part of a turnaround effort, with the AP reporting the company is hoping to up subscriber counts in the spring. CEO Mindy Grossman told shareholders Oprah will "play a central role in our upcoming TV and digital marketing campaign." (Read more Oprah Winfrey stories.)

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