Oprah Winfrey sells majority stake in OWN for $70m

Queen of TV Oprah Winfrey has sold a majority stake in her cable channel OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) to Discovery Communications for a whopping $70 million (R946,5 million)

Winfrey previously shared a 50–50 joint-ownership with Discovery, but the latest acquisition will see Discovery now own 74,5% of the cable channel.

While launched to much fanfare in 2011, OWN has struggled with low ratings and a high staff turnover, with The LA Times reporting that the transaction marks the first time Winfrey will be making a profit off the venture.

Under the terms of the agreement, Winfrey will stay on as CEO.

She has also signed an exclusivity contract that sees her tied down to the channel until 2025.

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“Creating OWN and seeing it flourish, supported by Discovery and rapidly growing group of the finest storytellers in film and TV, is one of my proudest achievements,” Winfrey said in a statement.

“I’m thrilled with the network’s success and excited about his next chapter in our partnership.”

In recent years, the network has been bolstered by Winfrey’s close relationship with popular producer Tyler Perry and Ava DuVernay, producing shows like The Haves and Have Nots and Queen Sugar, which have proven a hit among the channel’s majority black viewership.

Discovery Communications owns the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet.

“This transaction allows Discovery and Oprah to unlock more value from our partnership, extends once more her commitment to the networks and lets us continue our strong work together to nourish OWN viewers with the content they love,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav said.

Additional reporting by LA Times