Opry Entertainment Group Sells 30% Stake to Atairos and NBCUniversal In $293 Million Deal

Grand Ole Opry
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Grand Ole Opry
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Photo Credit: Grand Ole Opry

Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania-headquartered investment company Atairos and its “long-term strategic partner” NBCUniversal have officially acquired a 30 percent interest in Grand Ole Opry owner Opry Entertainment Group.

The involved parties just recently announced the $293 million deal, with six-year-old Atairos fronting around $278 million and NBCUniversal providing the remaining $15 million or so. These investors have specifically taken the mentioned 30 percent stake in OEG Attractions Holdings, a subsidiary of Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE: RHP).

OEG Attractions, in turn, “directly or indirectly owns the assets that comprise Opry Entertainment Group,” the entity behind the namesake 96-year-old Grand Ole Opry. The almost $300 million interest in Opry Entertainment values the company at $1.415 billion, higher-ups relayed, and Atairos is poised to drop another $30 million on the business “contingent on certain performance targets being achieved.”

Said follow-up investment would elevate Opry Entertainment’s value to $1.515 billion, and execs expect the transaction to close later during 2022’s second quarter. Finally, regarding the deal’s financial nuances, the overarching Ryman Hospitality Properties anticipates benefiting from a $593 million windfall, including $293 million for 30 percent of Opry Entertainment Group as well as “borrowings from a new $300 million Term Loan B facility secured by OEG assets.”

In a statement, Atairos chairman and CEO Michael Angelakis touched upon the plans for OEG and the Grand Ole Opry, which has scheduled 2022 shows all the way through December’s end.

“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,” said the former Comcast CFO Angelakis. “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.”

On this front, officials communicated in a presentation on the investment that OEG possesses a staggering “11,500 hours of live recordings” in its archives. And besides the Grand Ole Opry, RHP acknowledged OEG holdings including the 2,362-seat Ryman Auditorium (which formerly served as the home of the Opry and likewise has a packed 2022 concert schedule) and Las Vegas’s Ole Red, which is slated to open in 2023.

Also in Nashville, the entity possesses the 2,400-seat Wildhorse Saloon venue and the 1,000-capacity General Jackson Showboat, with a buyout of Austin’s 370,000-square-foot Block 21 (encompassing a hotel and the 2,750-seat Moody Theater) set to wrap at June’s start.

Bearing in mind this relatively extensive portfolio of physical assets, the presentation highlights the “resources and connectivity” of Atairos and NBCUniversal parent Comcast across NBC, Peacock, the WWE, Saturday Night Live, and more.

Lastly, Ryman concluded its PowerPoint by shedding light upon country listenership stats, indicating that millennials comprise 57 percent of the genre’s stateside audience, that 65 percent of country’s millennial listeners pull down north of $100,000 annually, and that country has an over $100 “higher annual music spend” per fan than other genres.