Grand Ole Opry owner sells stake for $293 million to NBCUniversal, a Comcast-backed fund – The Hollywood Reporter


Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry gets new business partners in Philadelphia and New York.

Atairos, an investment fund backed by cable giant Comcast and led by its former chief financial officer Michael Angelakis, is joining forces with Comcast-owned NBCUniversal to acquire a 30% stake in Opry Entertainment Group, a subsidiary of the real estate investment company Ryman Hospitality Properties.

OEG owns the Grand Ole Opry (as well as the Opry’s AM radio station), the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the Ole Red concert hall and the Circle lifestyle network, which OEG owns in partnership with the giant local Gray Television. OEG also owns the Opry Archive, which includes six decades of live recordings, totaling more than 11,500 hours.

Under the terms of the agreement, Atairos and NBCUniversal will contribute $293 million, with the bulk of that amount ($278 million) coming from Atairos and the remainder coming from NBCUniversal. OEG will also receive a Term Loan B of $300 million, bringing in total proceeds of $593 million. OEG will be valued at $1.415 billion in the deal, with Atairos also agreeing to invest an additional $30 million at a valuation of $1.5 billion if certain performance targets are met.

Ryman Chairman and CEO Colin Reed said in a statement that the company received “unsolicited interest” last year, which led it to hire bankers to seek “a strategic partner who shares our vision of growing OEG into a position where it can operate independently of our core hospitality business.

The company believes it has found that partner in Atairos and NBCU, with the company advising investors in an accompanying Powerpoint presentation that the partners will bring “strategic and industrial relationships” to the table. Ryman told investors in the game that it would “leverage the resources and connectivity of Atairos and Comcast”, citing saturday night live, The voiceand Peacock as potential partners.

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

For investors, OEG’s assets are also a content game, not only providing a platform to develop music-related content, but giving the company a foothold in the country music capital of the world.

“OEG’s dynamic collection of entertainment venues, digital content and iconic country music brands provides a solid foundation for continued growth as a fully integrated country lifestyle platform,” Angelakis said in a statement. press release announcing the agreement. “We are thrilled to partner with the RHP and OEG teams to explore new content distribution strategies and support their ambition to become the leading player in live entertainment and country lifestyle media content.”


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