Oprah sells healthy portion of Weight Watchers stock for huge profit

Nathan Bomey
Oprah Winfrey poses backstage with her Cecil B. DeMille Award, January 8, 2018.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

Oprah Winfrey sold about a quarter of her stake in Weight Watchers International, cashing in on significant gains since she first invested.

Winfrey sold shares in the range of about 8 to 9 times the price she paid for them, reflecting the massive increase in the company's value since she vouched for its weight-loss program.

The windfall comes amid continued speculation about a potential presidential campaign for Winfrey despite her repeatedly denying plans to run. A speech Winfrey made at the Golden Globes in January caused many observers to wonder if she was aiming for the White House.

More from USA Today:
Oprah's Golden Globes speech gives huge boost to Weight Watchers
With Oprah's help, Weight Watchers see profit rebound
Chick-fil-A Innovation Center

Winfrey bought about 10% of the company in October 2015 at a price of about $6.79 per share — and at the time she also received the right to acquire another 5% of the company for $6.97 per share. Earlier this month, she exercised options to purchase more than 1.4 million shares for $6.97.

Over the course of several days, she sold shares for a range of $58.29 to $63.94.

The transactions were disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission in a public filing.

Weight Watchers declined to comment on shareholder investments.

But Winfrey said in a statement that the move was meant to balance her investment portfolio, not signal anything else.

"I am deeply committed to Weight Watchers and continue to see a bright future for the company," she said.

Winfrey's investment in 2015 came after she experienced personal success on the company's weight-loss program. Since then, the company's fortunes have soared as membership increased and the stock price ballooned.

"I believe in Weight Watchers and I'm inspired every day by the millions of people around the world who are leading healthier and more fulfilling lives," Winfrey said.

Winfrey donated a small share of her stock proceeds to the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation, according to the filing.

Weight Watchers shares fell 3.9% in pre-market trading Wednesday to $56.15 after tumbling 4.3% on Tuesday.