14 March 2018 0 Comments Posted By : Craig Giammona, Anders Melin and Sam Nagarajan

Oprah Winfrey makes $110 million cashing in some of her Weight Watchers stock

Oprah Winfrey, who spurred a comeback at Weight Watchers International Inc. when she bought a stake in the company in 2015, is cashing in on the turnaround.

Winfrey made US$110 million this month by selling 2 million shares of the company, most of which came from exercising options, according to a regulatory filing. She also donated 361,000 shares to her charitable foundation, which sold them for US$22.6 million.

The billionaire media mogul unloaded the shares to diversify her investment portfolio and make the donation, according according to a statement from the company Tuesday. Winfrey won’t sell additional shares this year, Weight Watchers said.

“I am deeply committed to Weight Watchers and continue to see a bright future for the company,” Winfrey said in the statement.

The news didn’t faze investors. Weight Watchers shares, which had dropped the previous seven straight trading days, climbed as much as 7.8 per cent to US$62.99 on Wednesday.

Weight Watchers was struggling when Winfrey bought a stake in the New York-based business and agreed to pitch the brand in 2015. At the time, the stock was wallowing under US$7. Since then, the company has been adding subscribers and updating its program with technology improvements that have resonated with customers.

The shares nearly quadrupled in 2017 and had gained 32 per cent this year through the close of trading on Tuesday.

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