Discovery raises stake in Oprah Winfrey Network

Lawrence Kim
December 5, 2017

Discovery Communications has taken a majority stake in U.S. channel OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network for US$70m.

After the sale of the 24.5 percent stake, Discovery will own 74.5 percent of OWN and be able to report the cable network's results on its balance sheet.

This transaction represents Winfrey's first payment from Harpo ownership stake in OWN in the 10 years since forming the joint venture with Discovery.

Harpo will also retain what's described as "a significant minority interest" in OWN, with Winfrey's exclusivity commitment to the network extended through 2025. She added that she was thrilled with the success of the network and excited regarding the next chapter in the partnership.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav in a prepared statement said the transaction allows Discovery as well as Oprah to unlock much more value from the partnership; extends Oprah's commitment once again to the network; and allows the us to continue the strong work we have accomplished together to nourish the viewers of OWN with content they enjoy.

It now houses the top four original scripted series among black females on ad-supported cable, making it valuable property. The network is led by hit series including Queen Sugar andGreenleaf, the top two original series on all of television Wednesday nights for African-American viewers. OWN has recently unveiled expanded relationships with creative executives such as Ava DuVernay, Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, writer/producer Tarell Alvin McCraney and prolific filmmaker Will Packer.

In July, Discovery acquired Scripps Networks Interactive for a cash-and-stock deal valued at $11.9 billion. Once all three are officially under the Discovery umbrella, the company will boast a 20 percent share of women watching primetime pay TV in the united states, per TheWrap.

Based in Maryland, Discovery has a portfolio of nonfiction, lifestyle, sports and kids content brands including Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Science and Turbo/Velocity, as well as OWN.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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