Discovery buys majority stake in Oprah Winfrey’s PROPIA



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Discovery Communications is paying $ 70 million to obtain a majority stake in OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

So far, OWN had been a 50-50 joint venture between the television star and the cable programming giant. The agreement, announced on Monday, increases Discovery's ownership stake in the basic cable channel by an additional 24.5% to almost 75%.

The transaction marks the first time Winfrey withdraws money from the company. The channel was launched in 2011.

Winfrey, however, will continue to serve as the network's executive director. As part of the deal, she will work exclusively for OWN in the basic cable space until 2025.

Winfrey, who built her company Harpo Inc. into a giant through its syndicated program that lasted more than two decades until May. 2011., now appears as special correspondent in "60 Minutes" of CBS.

"Creating OWN and seeing it blossom, backed by Discovery and a rapidly growing group of the best film and television storytellers, is one of my proudest achievements," Winfrey said in a statement. "I am delighted with the success of the network and I am excited about this next chapter of our partnership."

Despite early struggles and staff turnover, OWN has become the most valued network for African-American women with such popular series as "Queen." Sugar "and" Greenleaf. "The network has benefited from its relationship with prolific producer Tyler Perry and producer and director Ava DuVernay.

Discovery, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, also owns Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and TLC With a majority stake in OWN, which is available in 80 million households in the US, Discovery can exercise more control and consolidate the channel's revenues and profits on its balance sheet.

"This transaction allows Discovery and Oprah to unlock more value from our partnership; extends once again its commitment to the network; and allows us to continue our strong work together to nurture the OWN viewers with the content they love, "Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in a statement.

Discovery is in the process of acquiring Scripps Network Interactive, which it owns such channels as HGTV and Food Network, with the company's shares down 25% this year as Wall Street has deteriorated in cable programming companies, which are the most vulnerable to cable cutting.

Monday, shares closed 7.1% at $ 20.85.

meg.james @ latimes.com

@MegJamesLAT


UPDATES:

4 : 35 p.m .: This article was updated to include additional background information on closing the share price for PROPIO and discovery.

This article was originally published at 11:15 a.m.

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