Aug. 11, 2014, 3:51 PM
- Sources tell dealReporter Pandora (P +3.3%) is attracting M&A interest. Details are scant.
- Shares have spiked on the report, but have returned a portion of their initial gains. Pandora rallied on vague M&A rumors last Wednesday.
- The heavily-shorted Web radio leader is trading well below a high of $40.44. However, it still sports a $5.4B market cap.
Jul. 1, 2014, 4:15 PM
- Google (GOOG +1.3%) says it will "explore ways" to integrate Songza, whose Android/iOS apps (5.5M MAUs) deliver human-curated music stations based on mood and activity, with Google Play Music. "We view the Songza acquisition as a way to further enhance our radio feature by adding their expertise on context."
- The Web giant adds it will also look at ways to use Songza's curation/music recommendation expertise within YouTube and other products. Google has already announced plans to launch a YouTube music subscription service later this summer.
- No purchase price is given for the deal. The NY Post previously reported Google had offered $15M.
- Pandora (P), which currently has 77M active users to Songza's 5.5M, is down 2.1% AH.
- Update: The NYT reports Google paid more than $39M for Songza.
Jun. 6, 2014, 1:38 PM
- The NY Post reports Google (GOOG +0.3%) is in talks to buy streaming radio service Songza; one source reports the offer price is $15M.
- Songa's Android/iOS apps offer curated radio stations based on mood and activity - Beats Music, soon to be in Apple's hands, does something similar.
- The company has 5.5M active users - a base much smaller than Pandora's (P +1.2%) 77M. Pandora has dipped slightly in response to the report, but remains up on the day.
- Buying Songza would provide a shot in the arm for Google's music efforts. All signs suggest the company's Spotify-like All Access music service has seen limited uptake since launching last year.
- A reported YouTube music service (would feature both music videos and audio-only streaming) might fare better, if Google can reach terms with music labels.
May. 28, 2014, 5:59 PM
- "The ugly truth is that there is such a Berlin Wall between Silicon Valley and L.A. ... The two don't respect each other, don't understand each other," says Tim Cook. He's hoping new employees Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will act as a bridge.
- The WSJ states Iovine and Dre will "work with both Apple's (AAPL) electronics and music-streaming divisions, spending as much time at [Apple HQ] as necessary." In an employee memo, Cook says the Beats team will report to Internet services chief Eddy Cue.
- Cook offers high praise for Beats Music, which pairs an algorithm with human curation. "We love the subscription service that they built—we think it's the first one that really got it right." He suggests in his memo the service will be integrated with iTunes.
- In an interview, Cook refers to Beats' headphone ops as "a reasonable-size business that’s fast-growing." He also predicts the deal will be accretive to FY15 (ends Sep. '15) EPS.
- IFPI estimates global music streaming/subscription sales rose 51% Y/Y in 2013, and that download sales (still 2/3 of all revenue) fell 2%. Back in March, Apple was reported to be mulling a subscription music service, and thinking of offering an Android iTunes app.
- Pandora (P), which fell when the first Apple/Beats reports arrived, is down 1% AH.
- Previous coverage
May. 9, 2014, 7:57 AM
- In a Facebook video posted by actor Tyrese Gibson, Beats co-founder Dr. Dre appears to confirm (with colorful language) his company is getting bought by Apple (AAPL) for a large sum.
- Separately, the NY Post reports Beats' other co-founder, music industry legend Jimmy Iovine, is in talks to join Apple as a creative "special adviser" to Tim Cook.
- Questions are flying about Apple's intentions for Beats, and whether the deal represents a big strategy change. While Apple has bought plenty of component, software, and services firms over the years, it has shied away from acquiring established electronics hardware brands in favor of a do-it-yourself approach. Also, audiophiles generally aren't huge fans of Beats' headphones.
- At the same time, Beats, as a consumer brand known for premium pricing, a loyal customer base, and simple/iconic design, has more than a few things in common with Apple.
- Music industry sources tell re/code Beats is doing over $1B/year in sales. The site also speculates Apple is interested in Beats' streaming service - Billboard reported in March Apple is talking with labels about a subscription streaming service, and is thinking of offering an iTunes Android app.
- Apple -0.4% premarket. Pandora (P) -3.2%; the company is no stranger to selling off on reports of Apple music forays.
Feb. 26, 2014, 12:45 PM
- Pandora (P +3.8%), which had 10% of its float shorted as of Jan. 31, is rallying following a vague rumor Microsoft is interested in buying the company.
- Albert Fried, which downgraded Pandora to Underweight in November, is skeptical of the rumor, given Microsoft once took a $6.2B write-down on a company run by Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews at the time of its acquisition (online ad agency aQuantive).
Jun. 11, 2013, 5:44 PMIt looks like Pandora (P) is taking a backdoor approach to lowering the performance royalties it pays to trade association ASCAP. The Web radio leader has bought a tiny Rapid City, SD radio station, a move that could allow it to pay the lower fees granted to broadcast station owners. However, while content acquisition costs equaled 69% of Pandora's FY13 revenue, performance royalties to ASCAP and others only made up 4.3%. Recording royalties paid to SoundExchange are a much bigger expense. Pandora sued ASCAP over its rates last November. | 4 Comments
Sep. 20, 2012, 10:46 AMM&A speculation is always good for a heavily-shorted stock. Pandora (P +2.7%), which had 53.8% of its float shorted as of Aug. 31, is rallying following a Bloomberg column suggesting Apple's reported Internet radio plans could lead online music rivals such as Google, Amazon, and Clear Channel to covet Pandora's giant user base and mobile ad business. An Albert Fried analyst thinks Pandora could fetch $20/share. (CEO remarks) | Comment!
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