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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Mark Allen Group to acquire Rhinehold Group Assets

Mark Allen GroupThe Mark Allen Group has won the bid to acquire all the assets in the Rhinegold Group. These assets include the International Piano, Choir & Organ, Classical Music, Teaching Drama, and Music Teacher publications. Rhinegold also publishes Opera Now. Through its events arm it owns and organises Music & Drama Education Expos in London and Manchester. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Rhinegold assets will add significantly to MAG’s strong position in music publishing, whose current portfolio includes the world’s leading classical music brand, Gramophone, as well as the premier magazines in their respective fields, Jazzwise and Songlines.

The parties are now entering into due diligence with the aim to complete the sale in October, after which the Rhinegold staff will be relocated from central London to MAG’s offices at St Jude’s Church in Herne Hill.

The origins of Rhinegold go back to 1977 with the launch of what is now Classical Music and the acquisition of Music Teacher. Since then the company has grown by acquisition and launch. Five years ago the first Music Education Expo was launched in London.

Mark Allen, the chairman of MAG, said, “I have been stalking Rhinegold for the past three years and I am delighted to say that my hope in acquiring these excellent assets looks like being realised. During this time, I have got to know, like and respect the current owner, Derek Smith, as well as several of the staff. There is a great deal of synergy with our own brands.”

Chief executive officer, Ben Allen added, “It is less than six years ago that we decided to enter the music market with our purchase of Jazzwise. This is a market in which we have done well and Rhinegold provides a golden opportunity for us to extend and enhance our dominant position. With increased leisure time likely to be a factor, music will loom even larger in people’s lives and we intend to be at the forefront of these trends.”

UK, London

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Discovery Communications Inc. completes acquisition of Scripps Networks interactive to create Discovery, Inc.

Discovery Communications IncDiscovery Communications has completed its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, with the combined company to be officially known as Discovery, Inc.

Scripps Networks Interactive is a leading developer of lifestyle-content for television and the Internet. The company’s brands includes HGTV, Food Network, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel and country music network Great American Country.

Scripps shareholders will receive approximately $90 per share, consisting of $65.82 per share in cash and 1.0584 per share in Series C Common shares of Discovery stock valued based on a volume weighted average price (subject to elections and proration), in each case in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement. This includes a cash payment of $2.82 per share in connection with Discovery’s previously announced decision to exercise in full the cash top-up option under the merger agreement.

The acquisition is expected to be accretive to adjusted earnings per share and to free cash flow in the first year after closing, including significant cost synergies. The combination is expected to create a strong economic model with capacity for rapid debt repayment and a clear runway for growth and value creation.

Kenneth W. Lowe, former Chairman, President & CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive, will join Discovery’s board of directors, effective immediately.

David Zaslav, President and Chief Executive Officer for Discovery, said, “Today marks another critical milestone for Discovery, as we become a differentiated kind of media company with the most trusted portfolio of family-friendly brands around the globe. As a new global leader in real life entertainment, Discovery will serve loyal and passionate audiences around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains across every screen; deliver new ways for advertisers and distributors to reach highly targeted audiences at scale; and leverage our leadership position to create new value and growth opportunities for all of our stakeholders.”

USA, Silver Spring, MD & Knoxville, TN

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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

Penske Media acquires controlling interest in Wenner Media and Rolling Stone

Penske Media CorporationPenske Media Corporation has acquired Wenner Media, majority owner of Rolling Stone. The multi-media brand features music reviews, in-depth interviews, political commentary and award-winning journalism across various platforms including magazine, digital, mobile, social and event marketing. The financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.

Since its founding in 1967 by Jann Wenner and Ralph J. Gleason, Rolling Stone has defined pop culture for generations of readers and is an iconic brand in publishing and music. Five decades later, Rolling Stone has evolved into a multi-platform content brand reaching over 60 million people per month.

Penske Media chairman and CEO Jay Penske said, “Our interest in Rolling Stone is driven by its people, its cultural significance, and the globally-recognized brand that has no peer in its areas of influence. We believe that Penske Media is uniquely qualified to partner with the Wenners to ensure the brand continues to ascend for decades across multiple media platforms.”

USA, Los Angeles, CA & New York, NY

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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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