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Nestle Sells Jenny Craig to North Castle Partners, Combines it With Curves Fitness Chain

Nov. 7, 2013... Nestle will divest Jenny Craig in North America, Australia and New Zealand, the Swiss company said today in a statement. The company was sold to a private equity firm, North castle partners, Greenwich, CT. The price was probably less than the approximately $600 million Nestle paid in 2006, analysts at Natixis and SNS Securities said. The French business isn’t part of the transaction.

North Castle will combine Jenny Craig with Curves Intl., creating a one-of-a kind wellness company that offers consumers an array of diet and fitness tools to meet their individual needs. North Castle acquired Curves International in August 2012. The Jenny Craig and Curves brands will continue to operate independently. Jenny Craig’s net annual sales were probably less than 400 million Swiss francs ($439 million), analysts estimated. Another analyst at Vontobel estimated that current year sales are around 300 million Swiss francs (or $329 million US).

North Castle’s combination of Jenny Craig with Curves, a fitness club chain it acquired last year, will offer nutrition planning and strength training “under one roof,” the company said in a statement. Monty Sharma, CEO of Waco, Texas-based Curves, will run the business.

Nestle bought Jenny Craig from private equity groups ACI Capital and MidOcean Partners in 2006, for $600 million, as part of a push into nutrition that has also seen the maker of KitKat and Crunch bars expand into baby food and sports nutrition.

The revitalization of Curves is well underway in its first year with the company planning to launch many new consumer-based initiatives in the next few months. Among other things, Curves has taken great steps to enhance its core fitness offering and, in a separate announcement introduced a new partnership with Jillian Michaels, the celebrity fitness trainer and health and wellness expert. Ms. Michaels is designing group exercise programs to be done in the famous Curves circuit.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/07/5888473/north-castle-partners-to-acquire.html#storylink=cpy

The Curves fitness program is a customizable meal plan, with one-on-one coaching and support. Curves Complete has been shown to reduce fat, increase lean muscle, boost metabolism and help dieters lose weight and maintain weight loss. Each Curves Complete Coach has completed a certification program developed in conjunction with the Cleveland Clinic.

Read more here

Upon completion of the transaction, Monty Sharma, the current chief executive officer of Curves, will become President and CEO of the combined Jenny Craig and Curves business.

Marketdata Commentary

This is major news, and the combination of Jenny Craig with Curves makes good strategic sense. Now, the entity will have access to a major women's exercise/fitness chain. Exercise is a key component of successful weight loss, along with food (nutrition) and the psychological aspects of weight loss. This new combination could present a significantly more robust competitor in the commercial weight loss arena. One has to remember that Jenny Craig, although focused on selling its diet food, is competing mainly as a SERVICE business. Nestle is a FOOD company, not a service company. The acquisition was doomed from the start. Marketdata's estimate of $342 million for Jenny revenues in 2012 appears to be dead on accurate, based on Vontobel's current year estimate of $329 million.

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