According to the law firm press release, Weight Watchers is the world’s leading provider of weight management services, operating globally through a network of Company-owned and franchise operations.
The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, defendants issued materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s financial performance and future prospects and failed to disclose adverse facts, including that: (a) Weight Watchers was experiencing execution issues which were causing it to miss its internally forecasted financial plan; (b) Weight Watchers was experiencing a significant drop in its North America and United Kingdom meeting attendance figures; and (c) Weight Watchers was facing increased competition from free weight-loss apps and its enrollment was being negatively impacted. As a result of the foregoing, defendants lacked a reasonable basis for their positive statements about Weight Watchers, its revenues, earnings, prospects and business.
On February 14, 2012, Weight Watchers announced results for its fourth quarter and full-year 2011, and provided full-year 2012 earnings guidance. In addition, Weight Watchers announced that it planned to launch a “modified Dutch auction” tender offer the following week for up to $720 million of its common stock with a price range between $72 and $83 per share, and that it separately had agreed to purchase shares held by its controlling shareholder, Artal Group, S.A. (“Artal”), at the same price paid in the tender offer. The tender offer closed on March 22, 2012. Earlier that month, the complaint alleges defendants exercised large quantities of options in the $42-$53 per share range, and sold large quantities of Weight Watchers shares on the open market for $80-$82 per share. On March 22, 2012, they also tendered shares to the Company for $82 per share. Combined, defendants received gross proceeds on shares sold of approximately $11 million.
On May 2, 2012, the Company announced its results for its 2012 first quarter — the period ended March 31, 2012, just nine days after the tender offer closed—and revised downward its full-year 2012 earnings guidance that it had previously provided on February 14, 2012. In response to this announcement, the price of Weight Watchers common stock fell 18%, from $76.01 per share on May 2, 2012, to close at $62.29 per share on May 3, 2012.
On February 13, 2013, Weight Watchers issued a press release announcing its fourth quarter 2012 financial results and providing disappointing full-year fiscal 2013 earnings guidance that widely missed Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate. On this news, the price of Weight Watchers common stock plummeted 17%, from $54.11 per share on February 13, 2013, to close at $44.91 per share on February 14, 2013. Then, on October 30, 2013, Weight Watchers announced its results for the third quarter of fiscal 2013, disclosing that year-over-year quarterly revenues had declined 8.5% and that quarterly net income had decreased by 10.5% and fully-diluted quarterly earnings per share had declined 11.2% from the same period the prior year. In addition, Weight Watchers announced that it had indefinitely suspended its dividend, which it had paid regularly since 2006. On this news, Weight Watchers’ stock price fell $7.81 per share, or over 19%, from a close of $39.92 per share on October 30, 2013 to close at $32.11 per share on October 31, 2013.
On June 9, 2014, the Court issued an Order consolidating cases, appointing lead plaintiff, and approving the selection of lead counsel. Lead plaintiffs filed a consolidated complaint on August 12.
On May 11, 2016, the Court issued an Order dismissing this case with prejudice.