WASHINGTON (AFP) – Discovery Communications said Monday it would pay $70 million to boost its stake in its joint venture, the Oprah Winfrey Network television group, which produces the celebrity’s programmes.
The deal gives Discovery an additional 24.5 per cent stake to lift its total share to more than 70 per cent.
Winfrey’s holding company Harpo Inc will retain a minority stake and she will continue in her role as chief executive through 2025 under the agreement.
The announcement comes 10 years after Winfrey created the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in a joint deal with Discovery, which operates channels in the US, Europe and Latin America including Animal Planet, Discovery Kids and Eurosport.
“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,” said David Zaslav, 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.”
OWN airs programmes focussed on African-Americans including the series ‘Queen Sugar’ and ‘Greenleaf’.
“I’m thrilled with the network’s success and excited about this next chapter in our partnership,” Winfrey said in a statement.
“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.”