Can Oprah Pull Weight Watchers Out of Its Slump?

After Oprah Winfrey paid $43 million for a chunk of the weight loss company, its stock soared. Will her blessing help the company make a lasting difference against the competition?

Can Oprah Pull Weight Watchers Out of Its Slump? Photo (cc) by numberstumper

Weight Watchers is hoping a new partnership with celebrity billionaire and former talk show queen Oprah Winfrey will help boost its appeal with consumers so it can stop shedding subscribers.

Winfrey not only ponied up $43 million to purchase a 10 percent stake in the struggling weight loss company, but she’s also taking a seat on the Weight Watchers board, CNN Money reports.

The company is also expanding its focus to include overall health and happiness, according to a company press release.

Winfrey, whose personal struggles with weight loss were often featured on the long-running “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” plans to document her experience with Weight Watchers and appear in the company’s marketing, Reuters reports.

“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,” said Winfrey in a statement. “I believe in the program so much I decided to invest in the company and partner in its evolution.”

Before Winfrey purchased a stake in Weight Watchers, its shares were down 72 percent this year, CNN Money said.

The business has been suffering. Sales were down 22 percent and profits nearly 50 percent in the first half of this year.

After the company announced its partnership with Winfrey on Monday, its stocks doubled, “with more than 57 million shares changing hands on U.S. exchanges, the busiest trading day in the company’s history,” Reuters said.

Winfrey’s popular talk show ended in 2011, but she remains one of the wealthiest and most powerful celebrities in the United States. Weight Watchers is hoping Winfrey’s immense popularity can help it woo subscribers who are looking to boost their overall health and well-being.

Weight Watchers was one of the first national diet programs, but it’s suffered in recent years as other weight loss programs have crowded the playing field and calorie-counting apps and fitness trackers have gained popularity with health-conscious consumers.

What do you think about Weight Watchers’ new partnership with Oprah? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

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