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

Bauer Media to acquire Jazz FM

Bauer Media GroupThe Bauer Media Group has agreed to acquire Jazz FM, the UK’s national commercial radio service for jazz, soul and blues, which reaches 672,000 people weekly. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Paul Keenan, CEO of Bauer Media, said, “Jazz FM is a much loved, respected and influential brand, with strong growth potential, we look forward to developing it further. Jazz music is seeing an unprecedented resurgence, and this extends us into an entirely new and complementary radio audience. […]I believe that Jazz FM’s expertise combined with our knowledge and experience in digital and personalised advertising technology such as Bauer’s InStream+ will propel the brand for both listeners and advertisers. We look forward to working with the team to grow the business.”

Germany, Hamburg & UK, London

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Huntsworth acquires media strategy company AboveNation

HuntsworthHuntsworth plc, the international healthcare and communications group, has acquired 75% of AboveNation Media from Steve Minichini and John Lee for an initial consideration of $1.75m.

AboveNation Media is a New York-based full-service media strategy, planning and buying agency. AboveNation Media will provide integrated advertising technology solutions across Huntsworth’s Evoke Group business. AboveNation Media will continue to be led by its CEO, Steve Minichini and its President, John Lee and will report to Reid Connolly, CEO of Evoke Group.

The agreement to acquire 75% of AboveNation Media provides for an initial consideration of $1.75m and two deferred payments due in 2019 and 2021, based on a multiple of the EBITDA for the preceding years.

In addition, the agreement provides for a put and call option over the remaining 25% of AboveNation Media exercisable by the sellers or the Group from 1 January 2023. The consideration payable will be based on average EBITDA for the two calendar years immediately preceding.

The initial consideration will be financed through the Group’s existing facilities. Both the deferred consideration and the put and call option consideration payable, may be satisfied either in cash and/or ordinary shares of the Company.

The maximum amount of total consideration payable is capped at $25m.

AboveNation Media generated revenues of c. $1.3m and EBITDA of c. $0.5m in the year to 31 December 2017 and the Group expects the acquisition to be accretive to the Group’s earnings in the current financial year. AboveNation Media’s gross assets were $4.2m as at 31 December 2017.

Mr Connolly said, “The convergence of media and technology has changed the way brands and companies connect with their customers. AboveNation Media is a perfect strategic fit within our group and strengthens our commitment to a culture of innovation and accountability. By integrating the emotional insights that fuel great creative with advanced media strategy and technology, we not only create a more nimble and agile offering but we’re able to create smarter, harder working creative. Collectively we offer our clients the ability to engage and build more valuable relationships and to do so in the most advanced, efficient and, most importantly, transparent way possible.”

UK, London & New York, NY

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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

Merkle’s Dentsu Aegis Network acquires DWA digital media and marketing agency

Dentsu Aegis NetworkDentsu Aegis Network has acquired the global B-to-B digital media and marketing agency, DWA. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Established in 1996, DWA applies expertise in ad-tech, real-time insight, and management decision support to a range of integrated, global media including Programmatic, Search, Social, and Demand Generation.

The move will expand the B-to-B offering at people-based marketing agency, Merkle, increasing existing capabilities and offering brands in the technology and B-to-B sectors greater sophistication, integrated technology, data, creativity, and performance marketing. The new business will be branded “DWA, a Merkle company”.

David Williams, President and CEO of Merkle, said, “There’s a growing group of enterprise level, B-to-B and technology businesses, all moving at breakneck pace to adopt the best advertising solutions and platforms. DWA’s client list reflects a clear early-mover advantage. The shift toward people-based marketing, led by Merkle, is as relevant in B-to-B as it is elsewhere. This acquisition will strengthen our ability to deliver those capabilities for B-to-B clients, at scale.”

USA, New York, NY & San Francisco, CA

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WPP’s Kantar acquires Enprecis

wppWPP’s wholly-owned operating company Kantar, the data investment management group, has made a follow-on investment in Enprecis Inc., a company which uses a proprietary online platform to collect and analyse data about consumer experience for the automotive industry.

Founded in 2006 and based in Seattle, Enprecis has developed, ‘Continuous Quality Insight’ (CQI), a proprietary online platform to collect and analyse customer experience data for the automotive industry. The platform connects automobile manufacturers to the views of their customers with unprecedented speed and detail, informing improvements to vehicle quality and design, and identifying opportunities to strengthen loyalty. The company’s gross assets in 2012 were US$1.6 million. Enprecis clients are most of the world’s major automotive manufacturers.

Enprecis will be aligned with the automotive practice in TNS, the global market research company that is part of Kantar. It follows the acquisition of  Chinese company, Sinotrust Market Research earlier this year.

UK, London & USA, Seattle, WA

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GMG rejects improved Apax offer

tradermediagroupThe FT is reporting that Guardian Media Group has rejected an improved offer by Apax to purchase GMG’s 50.1% stake in Trader Media. The new offer valued Trader Media at about £1.5bn, including net debt of about £560m. Apax’s previous offer valued the business at £1.2 billion. An IPO now seems the most likely outcome.

UK, London

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