North Castle tucks into Nestle weight loss business

The investment in Jenny Craig comes as the US-based firm, which targets consumer businesses in the health and wellness sector, attempts to collect $250 million for its fifth fund.

Nestlé’s stock price inched up in Europe this morning after the food group announced that it had sold Jenny Craig, a US-based weight loss business, to US buyout firm North Castle Partners.

Nestlé shares were changing hands for CHF 66.20 (€53.67, $72.49)  at 11.28am on Thursday, up 0.5 percent from the previous day's closing price of CHF 65.85. 

Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed. However, Nestlé said in a statement that the deal only covered the North America and Oceania divisions, and not the smaller business in France. 

Jenny Craig, which was established in 1983 and offers consumers weight loss programmes, has been part of Nestlé Nutrition since 2006, after being previously owned by private equity groups ACI Capital and MidOcean Partners. Nestlé is the world's biggest food group, selling a range of products including cereals, water and chocolate. 

The deal is expected to close later this month.

North Castle’s investment comes as the firm, which invests in businesses that promote health, wellness and active living, is still trying to wrap up fundraising for its fifth fund. 

The fund is targeting $250 million for this vehicle, slightly less than the $300 million it collected for its previous fund in 2007. By November last year, North Castle had raised about $100 million, PEI reported at the time.