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Judge Temporarily Blocks John Oates’ Sale of His Share of Hall & Oates Partnership

A Nashville judge has temporarily blocked John Oates’ proposed sale of his share of the Hall & Oates business partnership to Primary Wave until a private arbitrator hears the case, according to a Billboard report on Thursday. The move is the latest in the ongoing, rather mysterious legal battle between the estranged longtime musical partners.

The judge, Chancellor Russell Perkins, also extended the restraining order blocking Oates from selling his share, in an effort to give Daryl Hall time to prove his argument that the deal violates the terms of their partnership.

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“If the transfer goes forward before the arbitrator has an opportunity to consider and rule upon plaintiffs’ application for interim injunctive relief in the arbitration, then it could, as a practical matter, render much of the relief Plaintiffs are seeking in the arbitration ineffectual,” Perkins wrote.

The restraining order blocks Oates from completing his sale to Primary Wave until February, or until an arbitrator can decide whether to impose a similar restraining order.

Hall’s team claims that Oates’ team let Primary Wave see the duo’s joint business agreement, which was to have remained confidential. As a result, “the entire Unauthorized Transaction is the product of an indisputable breach of contract,” Hall’s lawyers claim.

Reps for the two artists did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Primary Wave has become a music-catalog marketing powerhouse over the past 15 years, acquiring assets from Bob Marley, Whitney Houston, James Brown, Prince and many other artists and marketing those assets largely in cooperation with the artists’ reps or estates. As an iconic heritage act with dozens of hits in the 1970s and ‘80s, Hall & Oates fits into their business model smoothly.

Back in February 2007, Primary Wave announced that it had acquired a “significant interest in the song catalog of Daryl Hall & John Oates.” The New York Post estimated the sale of a rumored half-interest in the catalog to Primary Wave at between $25-50 million for the duo. Soon after, the company also bought the copyrights for about 70 songs written by sisters Sara and Janna Allen, including their share of Hall and Oates smashes like “Maneater,” “You Make My Dreams” and “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do).”

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