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November 7, 2013 1:24 pm
North Castle Partners, based in Connecticut, will buy the Jenny Craig brand in North America and Australia, New Zealand and other parts of the Pacific region for an undisclosed amount. The business in France is not part of the transaction.
Founded in Melbourne, Australia in 1983 by Jenny Craig who created her own diet plan to lose weight after having children, the brand’s ambassadors include Spice Girls pop singer Mel B and US television actress Kirstie Alley.
Jenny Craig sells portion-controlled, prepackaged food and tailors weight-loss programmes for consumers and much of its appeal lies in its telephone and in-store consultations.
But the harsh economic environment has led to dieters moving towards trying to lose weight on their own or turning to free online fitness trackers for help.
The brand withdrew from the UK this year after sales failed to meet expectations, hit by pricing issues and stiff competition from rival Weight Watchers.
Nestlé chief executive Paul Bulcke told analysts in October that the company had identified a group of underperforming product lines it would look to sell after reviewing the food giant’s sprawling portfolio.
He said the company has conducted a review of about 97 per cent of its business “cells” including Nescafé coffee and Kit Kat chocolate bars.
Natixis estimates that Jenny Craig’s net annual sales were probably less than the SFr600m that Nestlé bought the business for from private equity owners ACI Capital and MidOcean Partners. The private equity firms bought a majority interest in Jenny Craig from the founder in 2002 for $115m.
North Castle invests in businesses that promote health, wellness and active living. It plans to combine the brand with the Curves International fitness chain of clubs for women, which it bought in August 2012.
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