All WW spokeswomen– lookin’ at you, Jennifer Hudson– are suspects.
A Weight Watchers International Inc. options investor earned a three-day paper profit of about $7.8 million after the stock surged the most ever today following the company’s higher-than-estimated forecast. A block of 4,273 February $45 calls were purchased for 95 cents each on Feb. 14, when the stock closed at $44.08. Calls give the right to buy 100 shares, meaning the contracts cost about $400,000. The Weight Watchers calls jumped 20-fold to $19.30 at 1 p.m. New York time today, driving their value up to $8.2 million.
“It was either the luckiest trade in a year and a half or it was someone who had inside information,” said Ophir Gottlieb, head of client services at Livevol Inc., a San Francisco-based provider of options market analytics. He cited the choice of a contract that was the closest out-of-the-money call to the stock price, and the options having an open interest more than quadruple the size of any other contract.