Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization Sold to Dutch Music Publisher

News   Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization Sold to Dutch Music Publisher
For many months, the industry has been alive with the sound of rumors that the songs and musicals of Broadway legends Rodgers & Hammerstein were up for sale. On April 21 it was confirmed by the heirs of the composer and lyricist that The Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization has been acquired by a foreign music publisher.

Imagem Music Group — the music publishing investment fund of ABP, the Netherlands-based pension fund, and CP Masters BV, a European independent music publisher — announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire the rights to the songs and musicals of Rodgers & Hammerstein as well as The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization (RHO).

No purchase price was disclosed.

The transaction expands Imagem Music Group's catalog as an independent music publisher and as an owner of theatrical and film properties.

RHO owns the rights to some of the most popular stage musicals, including Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, The King and I and The Sound of Music, each boasting a collection of American pop song standards, including "People Will Say We're in Love," "You'll Never Walk Alone," "Some Enchanted Evening," "Getting to Know You," "Climb Every Mountain" and "My Favorite Things."

RHO, as a licensing agency, represents more than 12,000 songs, 900 concert works, 200 writers and 100 musicals, including works by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sheldon Harnick, Stephen Schwartz, Rodgers' grandson Adam Guettel (The Light in the Piazza), Irving Berlin (including Annie Get Your Gun and others) and Rodgers & Hart (Pal Joey, among others). According to an April 21 statement, "RHO is in friendly and constructive discussions with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Group about continuing to represent his musicals in North America, including Cats, Evita and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."

The existing RHO management team, led by Theodore S. Chapin, president and executive director, will be retained.

Chapin of RHO stated, "I have had the privilege and honor to be entrusted with the management of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization for over 25 years. Today's exciting news means that this unique organization can continue to make history, but on a level that perhaps not even our visionary co-founders could have imagined. Artistic legacy and heritage is vital to our future, and we are so pleased to announce today that continuity will be embodied in the consulting role that Mary Rodgers Guettel and Alice Hammerstein Mathias, the daughters of Rodgers and Hammerstein, will take with the Organization."

André de Raaff, CEO, Imagem Music Group, stated, "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. We are also delighted to have the benefit of the knowledge and expertise of Ted Chapin and the RHO staff with the Imagem Music Group…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."

This acquisition "is the latest in a number of strategic investments by Imagem Music Group, which acquired various music pop catalogues from Universal Music Group, such as Zomba UK, Rondor UK, 19 Music and the greatest part of the BBC Music catalogue as well as Boosey & Hawkes, the market leading classical music publisher."

The RHO transaction "fits with Imagem Music Group's long-term strategy of acquiring a wide range of high quality music rights and maximizing their revenues by creatively developing their markets and audiences."

With this acquisition Imagem Music Group now has rights to more than 200,000 pieces of music.

Representing the Rodgers family, Mary Rodgers Guettel stated, "My father always believed in moving forward. This is a big and wonderful step, and I am thrilled by the new opportunities that André 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 said, "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. Mary and I are very pleased that we have been asked to stay involved."

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Founded by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II 65 years ago, RHO represents a wide variety of entertainment copyrights and over 200 writers. RHO encompasses three distinct divisions — Williamson Music, R&H Theatricals, and The R&H Concert Library — which represent not only works by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, but also Irving Berlin, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Adam Guettel, Sheldon Harnick, Lorenz Hart, Jerome Kern, Stephen Schwartz, Kurt Weill, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and many others. RHO founders Richard Rodgers (composer; 1902-79) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyricist/librettist, 1895-1960) created the most successful partnership in musical theater history; their works together included some of the world's most beloved musicals."

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