Oprah Winfrey Sells Most of OWN Stake to Discovery for $36 Million

Oprah Winfrey, chief executive officer of Oprah Winfrey Network LLC, speaks during an Apple Inc. event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, U.S., on Monday, March 25, 2019. The company is unveiling streaming video and news subscriptions, key parts of Apple's push to transform itself into a leading digital services provider. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Christopher PalmeriTue, December 22, 2020, 4:49 PM EST

(Bloomberg) — Oprah Winfrey sold most of her stake in the OWN cable channel to its majority owner, Discovery Inc., for more than $36 million in stock.

Winfrey’s company, Harpo Inc., filed to sell half of the 1.34 million shares received in the transaction, according to a regulatory filing Tuesday.

The deal boosts Discovery’s stake in OWN to 95%, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, an increase from more than 70% reported in 2017. The channel was co-founded by Discovery and the longtime talk show host in 2011 as a female-focused network, trading off of Winfrey’s huge popularity.

It got a off a rough start, however, and initially wrung up losses. Since then, it has focused more specifically on African-American women, including shows produced by comic actor and producer Tyler Perry.

The OWN content is expected to be part of a new streaming service, Discovery+, which is launching next month.

Winfrey had an agreement with Discovery where she could require the company to purchase part of her interest beginning in 2016. In 2017, Discovery purchased a 25% stake from Winfrey for $70 million. The latest deal suggests the value of the business has declined as smaller cable networks struggle to compete in a streaming world.

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