Grand Ole Opry Owner Sells Stake for $293M to NBCUniversal, Comcast-Backed Fund – The Hollywood Reporter

Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry is getting new company companions in Philadelphia and New York.

Atairos, an funding fund backed by cable large Comcast and led by its former CFO Michael Angelakis, is teaming with Comcast-owned NBCUniversal to accumulate a 30 p.c stake in Opry Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of the actual property funding agency Ryman Hospitality Properties.

OEG owns the Grand Ole Opry (in addition to the Opry’s AM radio station), Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, the music venue Ole Red, and the approach to life community Circle, which OEG owns in partnership with native TV large Gray Television. OEG additionally owns the Opry’s archive, which incorporates six many years price of reside recordings, totaling greater than 11,500 hours.

Under the phrases of the deal, Atairos and NBCUniversal will contribute $293 million, with the majority of that ($278 million) coming from Atairos, and the remaining coming from NBCUniversal. OEG can even obtain a $300 million Term Loan B, giving it complete proceeds of $593 million. OEG might be valued at $1.415 billion within the deal, with Atairos additionally agreeing to speculate one other $30 million at a $1.5 billion valuation if sure efficiency targets are met.

Ryman chairman and CEO Colin Reed mentioned in a press release that the corporate obtained “unsolicited interest” final yr, main it to rent bankers to search for “a strategic partner that shares our vision for growing OEG to a position where it can operate independently of our core hospitality business.”

The firm believes it has discovered that associate in Atairos and NBCU, with the corporate telling buyers in an accompanying Powerpoint deck that the companions will carry “strategic and industry relationships” to the desk. Ryman advised buyers within the deck that it might be “leveraging Atairos and Comcast’s resources and connectivity,” citing Saturday Night Live, The Voice, and Peacock as potential companions.

“Atairos and NBCUniversal have a great appreciation for the legendary assets under our stewardship and we are aligned on protecting and nurturing them for future generations of music lovers to enjoy,” Reed added in a press release. “We view this partnership as a significant opportunity to strengthen these beloved institutions and cement their influence on American music culture.”

For the buyers, OEG’s belongings are additionally a content material play, not solely offering a platform to develop music-related content material, however giving the corporate’s a foothold in nation music’s world capital.

“OEG’s dynamic collection of entertainment venues, digital content and iconic country music brands provide a strong foundation for continued growth as a fully-integrated country lifestyle platform,” Angelakis mentioned in a press release saying the deal. “We are excited to partner with the RHP and OEG teams to explore new content distribution strategies and support their ambition of becoming the leading player in country lifestyle live entertainment and media content.”

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