*News broke today that Oprah Winfrey has taken a 10% stake in Weight Watchers International Inc. and is joining its board, sending its stock soaring to a 7 month high, reports the Wall Street Journal.
“I believe in the program so much I decided to invest in the company and partner in its evolution,” Winfrey said in a statement.
Shares of Weight Watchers jumped 59% to $10.79 in premarket trading. The stock has tumbled about 72% over the past year as Weight Watchers has struggled with dwindling membership, according to WSJ.
Chief Executive Jim Chambers said Weight Watchers, founded in 1963, is expanding its focus from weight loss to more broadly helping people lead a healthier lifestyle.
Weight Watchers has been working to gain back customers and expand its reach to the millennial generation, which now prefers healthy eating and regular exercise, instead of weight-loss programs, and increasingly turns to apps and other gadgets that track calories.
In addition to the 10% stake, Winfrey will have the option to buy an additional 5% of the company. She also is joining the Weight Watchers program, the company said.