Sony Buys Famed Acuff-Rose Catalog

Sony/ATV Music Publishing will buy the oldest and one of the richest song catalogs in country music from Gaylord Entertainment.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing will buy the oldest and one of the richest song catalogs in country music from Gaylord Entertainment for $157 million, Gaylord officials announced today (July 2).

Acuff-Rose Music Publishing, founded in 1942 by country singer Roy Acuff and songwriter Fred Rose, includes classics like "Oh Pretty Woman," "Bye Bye Love," "Your Cheatin' Heart," and "Tennessee Waltz." Songwriters who once wrote for the company include Hank Williams Sr., Don Gibson, and Felice and Boudleaux Bryant.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing already owns a vast catalog including songs by the Beatles, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks, Pearl Jam, and Babyface. Sony Corp. of Japan and entertainer Michael Jackson are partners in the publishing company, which has administrative headquarters in Nashville.

"We have been entrusted with a real treasure," said Paul Russell, chairman of Sony/ATV Music Publishing. "Our first priority will be to maintain the integrity and quality of the Acuff-Rose catalog while raising its profile with new generations of performers."

The deal, which must be approved by federal antitrust regulators, is expected to close in August. It's part of a drive by Gaylord to narrow its once diverse interests to a core of convention hotels and entertainment franchises, primarily the Grand Ole Opry country music radio show.

"We will use the capital received in this transaction to invest in development projects in our core hospitality business, particularly building our Gaylord Opryland Texas Resort & Convention Center, which is under construction outside of Dallas," said Colin Reed, president and CEO of Gaylord. "This cash infusion will expedite our development work as well as reduce our indebtedness."

Yesterday Gaylord announced the sale of its one-third stake in the Opry Mills Shopping Center in Nashville, in exchange for $25.8 million in cash from majority owner The Mills Corporation of Arlington, Va. In addition, Gaylord got sole ownership of a 24-acre tract of land near its Nashville hotel previously owned by the two companies as partners.

Other Gaylord assets include country music standard-bearer WSM-AM radio, Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium, the Springhouse Golf Club, and a 19.9 percent stake in the Nashville Predators of the National Hockey League.

Gaylord has been trying to sell its part of the Predators. Its hospitality interests are the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville and the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center in Kissimmee, Fla. Another resort/convention center is in the early planning stages in the Washington, D.C. area. The Texas property is scheduled to open by June 2004.

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