- Nestle says it has sold its Jenny Craig weight-loss businesses in North America and Australia to a private equity group. Jenny Craig operations in France are not part of the deal.
- Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. Analysts estimate that Nestle sold the company for less than half the $600 million it paid for the brand in 2006.
- The new owner, North Castle Partners, also owns the Curves International fitness chain and the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas.
When Nestle announced just last month that it wanted to sell Jenny Craig, you could count the number of people who were surprised on one hand—and still have some fingers left. As we said then, "we're hard-pressed to remember any sector of the food industry ever falling apart as quickly as the weigh-loss brands are now." Everyone in this space -- Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, Herbalife—is facing pressures from the free, weight-loss support groups of the Web. And in an era where consumers can easily learn how to eat nutritiously, the number of overweight folks who look outside the produce aisle for help is falling fast.
Perhaps North Castle can pull off some sort of miracle. But we find that unlikely.