Legendary television personality Oprah Winfrey is set to buy 10% of Weight Watchers International. Oprah will also join the company’s board of directors.
The news comes as Weight Watchers has been struggling to market itself to people aspiring to lose weight. The company hopes that Oprah’s star power will help Weight Watchers better compete with cheaper digital rivals.
Investors believe that Oprah could be the solution to the weight-loss company’s woes, as shares for the company skyrocketed as much as 87% after the television personality announced her intentions.
Meanwhile, Oprah will also reportedly sign up for the Weight Watchers program. The television star plans to share her experiences with viewers along the way. Oprah has a long history of having a fluctuating body weight.
Weight Watchers had been on the decline, as customers have largely transitioned to free digital apps that keep track of consumed calories. Weight Watchers also plans to broaden its mission of helping people lose weight, as the company says that it now wants to help people live healthier and happier lives in addition to keeping off the extra pounds.
Meanwhile, Oprah is excited about her latest venture.
Winfrey said, “I believe in the program so much I decided to invest in the company and partner in its evolution.”
Oprah will also serve as an advisor to the company.
Before this week, Weight Watchers had declined in value by about 73% for the year.
With Oprah’s extremely large and devoted following, the company should appear more credible to consumers. The partnership could also lead to advertising deals, most notably on Winfrey’s television network, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Weight Watchers has been struggling to revamp its image for a long time. The company’s magazine was recently redesigned, and it has been trying new forms of advertising. However, sales have been declining as customers have largely preferred cheaper options, many of which are totally free.
Weight Watchers was founded in the 1960s, and it has helped people lose weight by providing dieting programs, food products and support centers. The company made its IPO in 2001.