Susan Riley to remain at the helm.

As first tipped in Higher Ground, Word Entertainment has purchased the Fervent and Spirit-Led record labels from founder/president Susan Riley. She will continue to head those ventures and the existing staff will remain intact.

Fervent is one of the most successful Christian independent labels with a roster that includes Big Daddy Weave, By the Tree and BarlowGirl, one of the break out acts of 2004.

Starting June 1, Fervent and Spirit-Led releases will be handled by Word Distribution in the Christian retail market, and WEA in the general market. Provident Music Distribution was the previous distributor.

Fervent's first new release under the Word umbrella will be the July 12 debut of the band Inhabited. On July 26, the label will issue Big Daddy Weave's third release, "What I was Made For."

In addition to the labels, Word Publishing acquired Riley's two publishing companies, Open Worship Publishing and Fresh Springs Publishing.