Oprah may want to rethink her Weight Watchers deal. The OWN head honcho just lost a whole lot of money as shares of of Weight Watchers (WTW) dropped nearly 30% Friday after the diet giant reported a surprise $11 million quarterly loss, according to CNN Money on Feb. 26. Not only did weight Watchers sales fall, but so did the number of Weight Watchers clients.
Oprah teamed up with Weight Watchers last fall, joining the board of directors and buying a 10% stake in the company. Oprah Winfrey paid just under $7 a share, or about $43 million, for her stake in Weight Watchers.
The talk show guru starred in commercials, telling viewers she lost 26 pounds on the Weight Watchers program. Oprah even boasted that she was still able to eat bread on the program. Unfortunately, even with Oprah as a spokesperson, Weight Watchers stock is now down 50% for this year, while trading is nearly 60% below its November high when Oprah’s deal first made headlines.
Oprah’s Weight Watchers ad campaign began airing late last year as she peddled the company’s new “Beyond the Scale“ program with a commercial titled “Oprah Winfrey’s New Weight Watchers Journey.” In the ad, Oprah touched on her highly-publicized past weight loss failures and passionately urged fellow dieters to join her to “do this together.”
But not everyone is as excited as Oprah when it comes to the new Weight Watchers. According to a report by The Washington Post, the new Weight Watchers system is more of a total lifestyle program than a diet plan. A new “SmartPoints” system discourages sugar and saturated fats, and points for high-fat treats have now doubled, penalizing users who don’t want to change their habits.