SiriusXM buys 19% stake in Pandora for $480M

Pandora, a free and subscription music service, announced SiriusXM is acquiring a $480 million stake and selling its Ticketfly to Eventbrite for $200 million. Photo courtesy of Pandora/Facebook

June 9 (UPI) — Online music service Pandora is selling a 19 percent stake to satellite radio company SiriusXM for $480 million in a bid to better compete financially against Spotify and other streaming music services.

And Pandora, based in Oakland, Calif., will raise another $200 million selling its Ticketfly ticket distribution service to Eventbrite — a company Pandora bought for $450 million in 2015.

“With this investment, we have the backing of one of the media industry’s most successful investors and significant capital to accelerate growth,” Tim Leiweke, a member of Pandora’s board of directors, said in a statement. “Pandora is now poised to advance to the next stage of the company’s lifecycle.

SiriusXM will get three seats on Pandora’s nine-person board of directors.

Pandora, which has 100 million quarterly users, makes most of its money from advertising to free listeners. In March, it launched a subscription service similar to Spotify and Apple Music.

SiruiusXM has approximately 31.6 million subscribers. Its paid service, mainly available in vehicles, includes channels for commercial-free music, comedy, sports talk and live events, news talk and cable news.

“This strategic investment in Pandora represents a unique opportunity for SiriusXM to create value for its stockholders by investing in the leader in the ad-supported digital radio business, a space where SiriusXM does not play today,” Jim Meyer, CEO of SiriusXM, said in a statement.

“Pandora’s large user base and its ability to provide listeners with a personalized music experience are tremendous assets.”

Pandora will pay a $22.5 million fee to private equity firm KKR for breaking up a $150 million deal.

Pandora, which was founded in 2000, had revenue of $1.38 billion last year, according to its financial filing.

Tim Westergren, Pandora’s CEO and founder said in a statement, his company is poised to expand as “digital music enters a new golden age.”


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