Discovery Buys Majority Stake of OWN

Discovery Communications will pay $70 million to take the majority stake in OWN the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Up to now, OWN was a 50/50 joint venture between Winfrey, the television star, and the giant in cable programming.

This deal, which was announced Monday, will increase the ownership of Discovery in the cable channel by 24.5% to almost 75%.

This transaction is the first time Winfrey took money from the venture. The channel debuted in 2011.

However, Winfrey will continue as the CEO of the network, and as part of this deal, Winfrey will work only for OWN through 2025, in the cable space.

Winfrey’s Harpo Inc. became a juggernaut thanks to her syndicated daytime talk show which ran over two decades through May of 2011. She now appears on CBS’ 60 Minutes as a special correspondent.

Creating the OWN network and watching it flourish, with support from Discovery and a growing group of the best storytellers in television and film, is one of her proudest achievements said Winfrey in a prepared statement. She added that she was thrilled with the success of the network and excited regarding the next chapter in the partnership.

Despite struggles early with ratings and turnover of staff, OWN is now the top-rated network for women who are African American having popular series such as Greenleaf and Queen Sugar.

The network has been a benefactor from a relationship with Tyler Perry the prolific producer as well as Ava Duvernay a producer director.

Discovery is the owner as well of the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet. With its majority stake in OWN that is available on more than 80 million homes across the U.S., Discovery will be able to exert some more control and consolidate the revenue and earnings of the channel on its own balance sheet.

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.

Discovery currently is acquiring Scripps Network Interaction that owns female skewed channels such as Food Network and HGTV.

The stock of the company is down more than 25% in 2017 as cable programming businesses have soured on Wall Street, due to being vulnerable to the growing cord cutting phenomenon where people are ending their cable programming subscriptions for smaller less expensive streaming options such as Netflix and HBO Go.