Word music label bought for $84.1M by Warner

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Gaylord Entertainment Co. has agreed to sell its Christian music division, Word Entertainment, to Warner Music Group for $84.1 million in cash.

Under the agreement, which the companies announced jointly in Nashville and New York Nov. 27, Word will continue to be based in Nashville, with Malcolm L. Mimms as its president and chief operating officer.

The transaction, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be completed in January.

Frank Breeden, president of the Gospel Music Association, told Baptist Press the announcement is good news for the Christian music industry.

"This is the next evolution in Warner's involvement in Christian music," Breeden said. "They started with P.O.D. and Plus One and they saw firsthand the success of marketing Christian music."

Breeden said the pending sale will have a positive impact on an industry that has seen an 11 percent jump in sales from 2000.

"The light is on us and it is time to shine," Breeden said.

Gaylord said earlier in November it was in discussions with several suitors to sell Word as part of its plans to divest non-essential assets and sharpen its focus on the company's core hospitality and entertainment businesses. Among its holdings are the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, the Grand Ole Opry and Nashville's WSM radio station.

Among the 30 artists on Word's roster are Amy Grant, Rachael Lampa, Nicole C. Mullen, Sandi Patty, Point of Grace, Marc Schultz, Sixpence None the Richer and Jaci Velasquez. The company has a catalog containing more the 75,000 masters.

Breeden said Christians should not be concerned about a secular company owning a Christian label.

"The first time it occurred was when EMI acquired Sparrow and there was a fear that the lyrics would be watered down and that it was a plot by Satan to overturn the Christian music industry," Breeden said. "That hasn't happened at all. We have remained true to our ministry."


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