The company has increased its stake from its prior holding of 73%, a person familiar with the matter tells Variety, adding that the gradual increase has long been part of the plan. In return, Winfrey has received more than $35 million in Discovery shares.
Discovery last upped its ownership of OWN in late 2017, paying $70 million for another 24.5% stake from Winfrey’s Harpo, Inc.
Harpo, which has over 1.34 million shares of Discovery, also registered in an 8-K filing on Tuesday the option to sell 670,477 shares of Discovery stock. Harpo’s current stake represents less than 1% of Discovery’s Series A common stock.
Discovery and Harpo first established OWN in 2008, with each holding a 50% stake in the company. It is unclear whether Winfrey will eventually choose to part with her remaining 5% stake or choose to remain a stakeholder in OWN, per a source. Winfrey remains chief executive officer and chief creative officer of OWN, roles she has held since 2011.
Separately, at the start of the year, Discovery will launch Discovery Plus, a streaming service that the company calls “the definitive non-fiction, real life subscription streaming service.” It will include more than 55,000 episodes from current and previously aired shows across its network brands, from OWN, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Discovery Channel, ID, Animal Planet and the Travel Channel. The service will be priced at $4.99 a month with ads, and $6.99 a month for an ad-free tier. Verizon customers, depending on which plan they have, will be able to access Discovery Plus for free.