SiriusXM to acquire music-streaming company Pandora

SiriusXMSatellite radio company SiriusXM will acquire music streaming service Pandora in a transaction valued at $3.5 billion. The proposed deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year, subject to the approval of Pandora stockholders.

The merger offers Sirius a major music-streaming asset as tens of millions of listeners turn to streaming apps in an increasingly crowded market, with Pandora enjoying the largest audio streaming audience in the U.S, according to industry estimates. Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited, have hitherto posed stiff competition.

The transaction would combine SiriusXM’s 36 million subscribers in North America with Pandora’s more than 70 million monthly active users. The two companies are expected to have combined revenue of about $7 billion this year. Pandora’s stock rose more than 3 percent in afternoon trading when the deal was announced.

Sirius XM’s chief executive Jim Meyer said of the two companies, “Together, we will deliver even more of the best content on radio to our passionate and loyal listeners, and attract new listeners, across our two platforms.” He also said his goal is to create value through subscriptions, “No matter who comes into one of our trial tunnels, no matter where they come in, our goal ought to be that as they exit that trial, somewhere somehow, they are in a funnel which we’re monetizing.”

USA, New York, NY & Oakland, CA

Keywords Studios acquires Studio Gobo and Electric Square

keywordsKeywords Studios, a technical services provider to the video games industry, has acquired Studio Gobo Ltd and Electric Square Ltd (a Gobo studio), for up to £26 million from the founders and other members of the management team.

Gobo’s revenue has grown quickly from £6.2m for the year ended 30 September 2017 to an estimated £11.6m for the 12 months ending 31st July 2018. Underlying pro-forma EBITDA for the same 12 months is expected to be approximately £3.6m.

The total consideration payable is up to £26m. The initial consideration is £10.5m in cash and 254,529 new ordinary shares in Keywords, which will be issued on the anniversary of completion. The remaining consideration of £11 million is payable in a mix of cash and shares, or all in cash at the discretion of Keywords, subject to achieving an increased EBITDA over the 12-month period following completion.  All of the Sellers are remaining with the business under the continued direction of Gobo CEO, Tony Beckwith.

Gobo provides game development services to video game developers and publishers around the world from its Studio Gobo and Electric Square studios based across three studio locations in Brighton and Hove, UK.

Founded in 201, Gobo employs 170 software engineers, artists, animators, game designers, quality assurance testers and producers. Over the years, Gobo has worked on top games franchises such as Disney Infinity, Ubisoft’s For Honor, and Microsoft’s newest racing game, Miami Street.

Andrew Day, Chief Executive Officer of Keywords Studios, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Studio Gobo and Electric Square to the Keywords family. By significantly enhancing our game development services in both scale and expertise, these studios together with recently acquired Snowed In, Sperasoft, d3t and GameSim help position Keywords as a go to game development partner and give us ever greater visibility of games in the pipeline, at the outset of their development.”

Ireland, Dublin & UK, Brighton and Hove

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Pokémon GO creator Niantic acquires AR startup Escher Reality

NianticThe company behind Pokémon GO, Niantic, has acquired augmented reality startup Escher Reality. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Escher Reality builds backend services for cross-platform mobile AR so users can interact with each other and objects in the environment. The startup offered functionality for shared experiences that was absent in both Google’s ARCore and Apple’s ARKit. The startup’s investors include Uncork Capital, Founders Fund, Y Combinator, Liquid 2 Ventures, Webb Investment Network, iRobot Ventures, Presence Capital, Into Ventures and others.

Niantic CEO John Hanke said, “The addition of the Escher AR technology is incredibly exciting to us at Niantic as it significantly accelerates our work on persistent, shared AR as part of the Niantic real-world application platform. It’s our intention to make our cross-platform AR technology available more widely to developers later this year.”

Niantic is releasing its next big AR title Harry Potter Wizards Unite this year.

USA, San Francisco & Sunnyvale, CA

Apple acquires app developer Buddybuild

AppleApple has acquired Buddybuild, a Vancouver-based app tools developer focused on continuous integration and debugging tools. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Buddybuild was founded in 2015 by former Amazon employees Dennis Pilarinos and Christopher Stott. In its nearly three years of existence, the startup has managed to raise around $8.8 million. Its existing customers includes Mozilla, Hootsuite, Reddit, SoundCloud, FourSquare and The New York Times.

As part of the acquisition, Buddybuild will be rolled into Xcode, Apple’s suite of development tools for iOS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS.

USA, San Francisco, CA & Vancouver, BC

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BrandSpins acquires TONE Technology

BrandSpinsA year after the digital music distribution company BrandSpins acquired the music licensing giant, MusicDealers.com, they have released a new technology called ‘TONEprotocol,’ aimed at revolutionising the advertising industry. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

TONEprotocol, developed by TheToneKnows, Inc., works by embedding an imperceptible tone called a ‘TONE-Tag’ into any MusicDealers’ song used within television, radio, and streamed advertisements. The ‘Tone-Tag’ is an imperceptible audio beacon that converts this beacon to a “code” which can be deciphered by any smartphone. Once perceived by any mobile device, the ‘TONE-Tag’ will trigger a graphic ad which instantly appears on the listener’s mobile phone.

Beyond radio and TV, the audio beacon technology works in anything with sound including films, video games, as well as the retail environment. By installing TONE-emitting chips sets in retail stores and public spaces, coupons, ads, and promotions can be delivered to any smartphone within about 30 feet. This application of the technology could replace expensive and maintenance-intense bluetooth beacons and RFID-based systems.

Billy Tuchscher, CEO of BrandSpins and MusicDealers.com, said, “It is pretty impressive to be listening to a radio ad and magically have a coupon, flyer, or event ticket show up on your phone. The technology is solid, all the inventors needed was a music catalog, method of distribution, and big brand relationships. We have all that.”

USA, Las Vegas, NV & San Francisco, CA

India’s Times Internet acquires spiritual content app House of God

Times Internet IndiaTimes Internet Ltd, a subsidiary of media house Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd, has acquired the spiritual content app House of God, which is run by Innertech Media Solutions Pvt. Ltd. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Innertech Media Solutions is a New Delhi-based startup, incorporated in 2017 and incubated at EROS Labs, which offers online religious media, product and services covering six different religions.

Gautam Sinha, CEO of Times Internet, said, “Our user base has continuously asked for innovative products and services in the religious and spiritual interest category. Consistent to our strategy of catering to a mobile-first audience base in India, the House of God acquisition will extend our leadership in spiritual content experiences”.

India, Gurgaon Haryana & New Delhi

Apple acquires music recognition app Shazam

AppleApple has acquired the music recognition app Shazam, expanding its existing music offerings. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Launched in 1999, Shazam is an app that captures a clip of music that is playing. The clip is matched with a large database to return a matching result which can then be downloaded, currently from Spotify but in the future users could be directed to Apple Music instead. With a reported over one billion downloads to date, Shazam also has visual recognition capabilities which let users identify any TV show, film or advert by listening to an audio clip or a visual fragment.

Apple released a statement saying “Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS. Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users.”

USA, San Francisco & Cupertino, CA

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