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Discovery Communications has paid $70 million to Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Inc to increase its ownership stake in the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network joint venture.

Under the terms of the transaction, Discovery has acquired an additional 24.5% stake in OWN, after taking into account net debt at the network, increasing its ownership stake to more than 70%. This transaction represents Winfrey’s first payment from Harpo’s ownership stake in OWN in the ten years since forming the joint venture.

Winfrey will continue in her role as CEO, with her exclusivity commitment to the network extended through 2025.

Launched in 2011, OWN has become the No 1 network for African-American women, with the top four original scripted series on ad-supported cable. The network is led by hit series Queen Sugar and Greenleaf, the top two original series on all of television Wednesday nights for African-American viewers. OWN also delivers the most social shows on ad-supported cable, with three shows in the top ten. The network has recently expanded its relationships with premier storytellers and producers including Ava DuVernay, Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, Academy Award-winning Moonlight writer/producer Tarell Alvin McCraney and prolific filmmaker Will Packer.

“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 super-fan 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.”

“Creating OWN and seeing it flourish, supported by Discovery and a rapidly growing group of the finest storytellers in film and television, is one of my proudest achievements,” said Winfrey. “I’m thrilled with the network’s success and excited about this next chapter in our partnership. 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.”
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