Judge Extends Freeze on Oates’ Business Stake Sale

A Nashville judge ruled Thursday that John Oates must remain in a holding pattern and take no “further action” to sell his half of his business partnership with Daryl Hall against Hall’s wishes. Oates must wait for the arbitrator selected in the famed duo’s previously filed arbitration to resolve the now highly public battle over the fate of Hall & Oates’ intellectual property, the judge said.

In a six-page ruling obtained by Rolling Stone, the judge found that Hall had “made a sufficient showing of risk of irreparable harm” if Oates’ negotiations to sell his chunk of Whole Oats Enterprises to Primary Wave IP Investment Management were allowed to continue. The court previously imposed a temporary restraining order on the proposed sale on Nov. 16. (Whole Oats Enterprises controls Hall and Oates‘ trademarks, personal name and likeness rights, record royalty income, and social media and website properties.)

“The individual parties to this litigation are two of the most well-known and celebrated musicians of our time,” Chancellor Russell T. Perkins wrote in the ruling. He said Hall’s request for a “limited temporary injunction to preserve the status quo” pending the ongoing arbitration process was “warranted.”

The decision followed after the sparring superstars filed dueling declarations Wednesday that shed more light on their widening rift. Hall wrote in his statement that Oates “blindsided” him by allegedly going “behind” his back to secretly sell half of their joint venture to Primary Wave. “I have no intention of becoming partners with Primary Wave, and the Oates Trust cannot be permitted to thrust a new partner upon me in this outrageous fashion,” he said.

In a response filed late Wednesday, Oates said he was “tremendously disappointed” that Hall chose to make such “inflammatory, outlandish, and inaccurate statements about me.” He claimed Hall was the one with the history of trying to break away from their association.

“I have no idea who or what is motivating Daryl to take these steps and make such salacious statements, but I am deeply hurt,” Oates wrote. He said over the last 50 years, he has devoted himself to ensuring that fans and the music industry “perceive the Hall & Oates music and brand in the most positive light.”

Hall “has consistently and publicly been adamant about being perceived as an individual rather than as part of a duo or group,” Oates said. He claimed Hall previously “insisted” on the group being known as “Daryl Hall and John Oates,” rather than the more commonly known “Hall & Oates.”

“I now must act with truthfulness and make decisions that are right for myself, my family, and my artistic future,” Oates wrote. “I can only say that Daryl’s accusations that I breached our agreement, went ‘behind’ his back, ‘acted in bad faith,’ and the like, are not true.”

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A spokesman for Primary Wave did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Primary Wave already controls a “significant interest” in Hall & Oates’ music catalog, according to the company. Speaking to Sky News in 2021, Hall said he regrets the sale. “I have a bit of my publishing, but a lot of bad business was done in the early days — I’m a real rock and roll story when it comes to that kind of thing,” he said. “Never sell your publishing — maybe if you’re, you know, 80 years old and you decided to retire, then you can sell your publishing, but I wouldn’t even suggest it then, I don’t believe in that concept, It’s all you have is that.”

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