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Discovery acquires additional 24.5% stake in Oprah Winfrey Network for $70 mn
MUMBAI: Discovery Communications has completed an agreement with Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo to increase its ownership stake in its Own: Oprah Winfrey Network joint venture in the US.
Under the terms of the transaction, Discovery paid $70 million to acquire an additional 24.5% stake in Own from Harpo after taking into account net debt at the network, increasing Discovery’s ownership stake to more than 70%.
This transaction represents Winfrey’s first payment from Harpo’s ownership stake in Own in the 10 years since forming the joint venture with Discovery. Winfrey’s Harpo will retain a significant minority interest in OWN and Winfrey 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 US. 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” said Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav.
“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. 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” said Winfrey.
“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. 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” said Own president Erik Logan.
Following the completion of the Scripps acquisition and combining the company’s current female-focused networks, including TLC, ID and OWN, Discovery will be home to five of the top pay-TV networks for women and represent 20% share of women watching primetime pay-TV in the US.