Ryman Hospitality Properties and Atairos announced that Atairos, along with NBCUniversal, will acquire a 30% minority ownership stake in RHP’s subsidiary OEG Attractions Holdings LLC, which directly or indirectly owns the assets that comprise Opry Entertainment Group (“OEG”).
Atairos’ investment values OEG at $1.415 billion, inclusive of OEG’s previously announced acquisition of Block 21 (which remains subject to certain closing conditions and is expected to close prior to June 1, 2022). Atairos has agreed to make an additional $30 million investment in OEG, contingent on certain performance targets being achieved, which would bring OEG’s valuation to $1.515 billion. The initial $1.415 billion valuation 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 consummation of that transaction. Atairos’ and NBCUniversal’s initial 30% equity investment in OEG will be approximately $293 million, of which Atairos is directly investing approximately $278 million and NBCUniversal will directly invest up to approximately $15 million.
Colin Reed, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ryman Hospitality Properties, said, “Over the last decade we have shared our excitement about the bright future of our entertainment business and the significant value creation opportunities that exist as we extend our reach nationwide and transition OEG to an integrated country lifestyle platform.
Back in June 2021, given the unsolicited interest we had received, we embarked on a formal process to identify a strategic partner that shares our vision for growing OEG to a position where it can operate independently of our core hospitality business while enabling our shareholders to participate in the significant upside for OEG that lies ahead.
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. We view this partnership as a significant opportunity to strengthen these beloved institutions and cement their influence on American music culture. We remain focused on creating sustainable long-term value for our shareholders as we seek new ways to connect artists and fans through one-of-a-kind experiences.”
Michael Angelakis, Chairman and CEO of Atairos, said, “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. 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.”
David Pietrycha, Executive Vice President, 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, as well as artists and storied cities, to music lovers worldwide.”
Additional Transaction Details
Upon completion of the transaction, RHP will retain a controlling 70% interest in OEG. Colin Reed will serve as Executive Chairman of OEG in addition to his responsibilities as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of RHP. In connection with the investment, Atairos will enter into an LLC agreement with RHP and OEG upon the closing of the investment, pursuant to which, among other things, Atairos Partners Alex Evans and Jackson Phillips will join OEG’s Board of Directors, which will be comprised of four RHP Directors and two Atairos Directors.
The transaction, which is subject to customary conditions, is expected to close in Q2 2022. Upon closing, RHP expects to receive gross transaction proceeds of approximately $593 million, comprised of the Atairos and NBCUniversal investment and borrowings from a new $300 million Term Loan B facility secured by OEG assets. RHP expects to use these proceeds to pay transaction expenses, fully repay its $300 million Term Loan A and substantially all the borrowings outstanding under its revolving credit facility, thereby reducing leverage and creating balance sheet flexibility to allow RHP to pursue continued reinvestment in its businesses.