Discovery Communications has finalized a deal with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo to up its ownership stake in the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network joint venture.
Under the agreement, Discovery paid $70 million to acquire an additional 24.5 percent stake in OWN from Harpo after taking into account net debt at the channel, increasing Discovery’s ownership stake to more than 70 percent. This transaction represents Winfrey’s first payment from Harpo’s ownership stake in OWN in the decade since forming the JV with Discovery. Winfrey’s Harpo will retain a significant minority interest in OWN and she will continue in her role as CEO, with her exclusivity commitment to the network extended through 2025.
“Ten years ago, Oprah and I began to imagine what a network, inspired by her vision and values, could mean to viewers across the U.S.,” said David Zaslav, the president and CEO of Discovery. “In an increasingly crowded landscape, OWN has emerged as the leading destination for African-American women and one of the strongest superfan brands across all screens and services. This transaction allows Discovery and Oprah to unlock more value from our partnership; extends once more her commitment to the network; and lets us continue our strong work together to nourish OWN viewers with the content they love.”
“Creating OWN and seeing it flourish, supported by Discovery and a rapidly growing group of the finest storytellers in film and television, is one of my proudest achievements,” added Winfrey. “I’m thrilled with the network’s success and excited about this next chapter in our partnership. Together, we’ll continue to inspire our viewers with real-life stories that are emotional and entertaining, connecting them to each other and to their greatest potential.”
“I’m excited for OWN to be part of Discovery in a deeper, more meaningful way and for the opportunity this unlocks for our future,” added Erik Logan, the president of OWN. “Our network has achieved what most people thought was impossible and as we look toward the future, now more than ever, we are poised for continued success.”