NBCUniversal and independent investment firm Atairos will acquire a 30% minority interest in OEG Attractions Holdings, a subsidiary of Ryman Hospitality Properties.
OEG Attractions Holdings directly or indirectly owns the assets that make up Opry Entertainment Group (OEG), including the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, WSM 650 AM, Ole Red and a 50% interest in country lifestyle media network Circle (which Ryman Hospitality Properties owns in a joint venture with Gray Television).
The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022.
Atairos’ investment values OEG at $1.415 billion (including OEG’s previously announced acquisition of Block 21, which is expected to close June 1). Atairos has agreed to make an additional $30 million investment in OEG, contingent on meeting certain performance targets. The initial valuation of $1.415 billion includes a recapitalization of OEG with a new $300 million term loan B and the assumption of a $137 million CMBS facility for Block 21 upon the closing of this transaction. Atairos and NBCUniversal’s initial 30% interest in OEG will be approximately $293 million, with Atairos investing approximately $278 million directly and NBCUniversal investing up to approximately $15 million directly.
Once the transaction closes, Ryman Hospitality Properties will retain a controlling 70% interest in OEG with its Chairman and CEO Colin Reed as executive chairman of the OEG. Atairos will enter into an LLC agreement with Ryman Hospitality Properties and OEG upon completion of the investment. Atairos partner Alex Evans and JacksonPhillips will join OEG’s board of directors, which will consist of four directors from Ryman Hospitality Properties and two directors from Atairos.
In a statement, Reed said: “Back in June 2021, in light of the unsolicited interest we had received, we initiated a formal process to identify a strategic partner that shares our vision of bringing OEG to a position where it… to operate independently of our core hospitality business and enable our shareholders to participate in the significant upswing for OEG that lies ahead. We view this partnership as a significant opportunity to strengthen these beloved institutions and cement their impact on American music culture.”
Michael Angelakis, Atairos Chairman/CEO, added, “OEG’s dynamic collection of entertainment venues, digital content and iconic country music brands provides a strong foundation for continued growth as a fully integrated country lifestyle platform. We are excited to be working with the RHP and OEG teams to explore new content distribution strategies and support their ambition to become the leading player in country lifestyle live entertainment and media content.”
In his own statement David Pietrycha, Executive Vice President of Strategy and Business Development at NBCUniversal, added, “We are excited to invest in OEG alongside our strategic partner Atairos. We look forward to exploring opportunities to leverage our media, technology and content creation expertise to help OEG accelerate its plans and bring its iconic brands, artists and storied cities to music lovers worldwide.”
https://www.billboard.com/pro/nbc-universal-atairos-ryman-hospitality-properties-deal-minority-stake/ Grand Ole Opry Owner Sells Minority Stake in NBCUniversal, Atairos – Billboard