Imagem acquires Rodgers & Hammerstein Org

Irving Berlin, Rodgers & Hart material included in deal

LONDON -- Imagem Music Group has signed an agreement to acquire the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization (RHO) including the rights to the songs and musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein.

RHO owns the rights to popular stage and film musicals by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hamilton II including "Oklahoma!," "Carousel," "South Pacific," "The King And I" and "The Sound Of Music." Overall, it represents more than 12,000 songs, 900 concert works, 200 writers and 100 musicals, including works by Irving Berlin and Rodgers & Hart; RHO is also in discussions with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group about continuing to represent his musicals in North America.

The existing management team, led by president and executive director Theodore S. Chapin, will continue under the ownership of Imagem. The Hilversum, Netherlands-based publisher has made a series of strategic investments including various pop catalogs from Universal Music Group, such as Zomba U.K., Rondor U.K., 19 Music, as well as classical publisher Boosey & Hawkes.

"Our purchase of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization is a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire the publishing and theatrical rights of some of the most beloved shows and songs ever written," said CEO Andre de Raaff.  "I personally believe that the world of musicals in which RHO is a leading player will grow further on a worldwide basis and we look forward to adding value to these rights through long term cultivation and development."

According to a statement, Imagem now generates annualized revenues of more than €100 million ($129.3 million) and has rights to more than 200,000 pieces of music.

Representing the Rodgers family, Mary Rodgers Guettel said: "My father always believed in moving forward. This is a big and wonderful step, and I am thrilled by the new opportunities that Andre and his team bring to my father's songs and shows. The Rodgers family is committed to this phenomenal organization, which will continue to represent the shows my father wrote with Larry Hart, as well as a few shows I wrote, and my son Adam's shows."

Speaking on behalf of the Hammerstein family, Alice Hammerstein Mathias added: "The collaboration between my father and Richard Rodgers was extraordinary. That they kept everything together, including the management of their copyrights, is a testament to their shared vision, and now that vision will be continued in this promising new venture."

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The deal is subject to certain pre-closing conditions.
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