Oprah Winfrey is carrying a lot of weight with Weight Watchers International Inc.
Winfrey and Weight Watchers, a New York-based weight loss company, on Monday announced a partnership in which she purchased 10% of the company’s newly issued shares with the option to buy 5% more.
“Weight Watchers has given me the tools to begin to make the lasting shift that I and so many of us who are struggling with weight have longed for,” Winfrey said. “I believe in the program so much I decided to invest in the company and partner its evolution.”
Weight Watchers sold Winfrey 6.4 million shares at $6.79 per share for a total price of approximately $43.2 million. She also has the option to buy 3.5 million more Weight Watchers shares.
After the deal was disclosed, Weight Watchers’ stock price ballooned to $18.25 per share, more than doubling Winfrey’s purchase price. She made a profit of about $110 million on paper. The stock price has since declined to around $14 per share.
As a result of the deal, Winfrey, a billionaire business owner and former television talk show host, has joined Weight Watchers board of directors as a member and an advisor.
Her position on the board increases its membership from nine to 10. She began serving on the board in the fourth quarter. Weight Watchers will pay Winfrey $75,000 annually, half in cash and half in stock. Her term will expire in 2018.
The agreement also gives Weight Watchers the right to use her likeness, image and endorsement, according to the SEC filing.
Other African-Americans also promote Weight Watchers. They include former N.B.A. star Charles Barkley and Academy Award Winner Jennifer Hudson.