Discovery has increased its ownership of Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network to 95%. In exchange, Winfrey receives a $35 million stake in Discovery, an individual with knowledge of the deal told TheWrap.
OWN was formed in 2008 as a joint venture between Discovery and Winfrey’s Harpo (the network did not launch until 2011) and has been increasing its ownership stake in the years since. Discovery most recently held a 73% ownership stake in the network, which is home to series including Tyler Perry’s “The Haves and the Have Nots” and Ava DuVernay’s “Cherish the Day.”
Winfrey will remain the CEO of the network.
The news was first disclosed Tuesday in an SEC filing, which said that Harpo now owns about 1.34 million shares of Discovery, which amounts to less than 1% of the company’s Class A common stock. Of those 1.34 million shares, Harpo registered roughly 670,477 of them for possible sale, though it is not required to do so.
According to Discovery’s annual report in 2008, when the joint venture was first announced, Winfrey had an agreement that stipulated Discovery was required to buy out at least a portion of her stake in OWN, which had a deadline of the end of this year.
In 2017, Discovery paid $70 million to boost its ownership stake from 48.5% to 73%; in that deal, Winfrey extended her exclusivity contract with Discovery through 2025.