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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Nine Entertainment to take over Fairfax media in estimated A$4BN deal

Nine EntertainmentAustralia’s Nine Entertainment is to take over Fairfax Media, for an estimated A$4 billion. The television network will take a controlling 51.1% stake in the newly merged company, which will be renamed NEC, or Nine Entertainment Company. Nine will acquire all of Fairfax’s shares and take a controlling 51.1% share in the new business, which will be called NEC. Under the terms of the proposed transaction, Fairfax shareholders will receive 0.3627 Nine shares for each Fairfax share held and $0.025 cash. It represents a 21.9% premium to Fairfax’s closing share price of 77c on 25 July 2018.

Hugh Marks of Nine will be the new chief executive and Peter Costello, the Nine chairman, will now lead the board of the new business.

Costello said, “Both Nine and Fairfax have played an important role in shaping the Australian media landscape over many years. The combination of our businesses and our people best positions us to deliver new opportunities and innovations for our shareholders, staff, and all Australians in the years ahead.”

Marks added, “The ground-breaking merger – harnessing the strength, assets, quality and reach of two of the country’s most famous industry brands – is another highly significant step in the evolution of Nine’s business into one of the most powerful media organisations in the country. The scope of this deal is genuinely quite breathtaking. In addition to our existing television and digital businesses, the new NEC will also become the proprietor of the iconic Fairfax mastheads as well as the new majority owner of Domain (60%) and the Macquarie Radio Network (54.5%)“.

Fairfax Chief Executive Officer Greg Hywood said, “The proposed transaction for Fairfax reflects the success of Fairfax’s transformation strategy which has created value for shareholders through targeted investment in high growth businesses, such as Domain and Stan, and prudent management of our media assets. The combination with Nine provides an exciting opportunity to continue to drive incremental value well into the future. We are confident that the strength of the combined management team and staff will ensure the continuation of our quality journalism.”

Australia, Sydney

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RTL Group acquires United Screens

RTLThe RTL Group has fully acquired United Screens, the leading multi-platform network in the Nordic countries. The transaction, which closed on 2 January 2018, provides for a price of SEK 120 million (€12.4 million) on a debt and cash-free basis subject to usual post-closing adjustments. Additionally, RTL Group plans to invest SEK 25 million (€2.6 million) to fund the company’s growth plan across the Nordic region.

United Screens generates over 500 million video views a month on YouTube and represents hundreds of influencers in music, lifestyle and entertainment across all social media platforms. The company was founded by Malte Andreasson, Stina Bergfors and Bonnier Ventures in 2013 and is based in Stockholm, Sweden, with offices in Oslo, Norway and Helsinki, Finland. Bonnier Ventures financed the company since the early start. Before the foundation of United Screens, Malte Andreasson worked as Scheduling Director for the Swedish channel TV4, while Stina Bergfors was the Country Director for Google and YouTube in Sweden. Malte Andreasson continues to head United Screens as CEO.

RTL Group CEO Bert Habets, who has become Chairman of the Board of United Screens following the transaction, said: “This acquisition is another step in accelerating our ‘Total Video’ strategy, as United Screens strengthens our MPN presence in Europe. With our highly popular creators and leading market positions in each territory, RTL Group is the only European company to offer advertisers pan-European digital video campaigns in premium and brand-safe environments.”

Luxembourg & Sweden, Stockholm

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Bauer Media acquires Absolute Radio

bauer mediaBauer Media UK is to acquire the Absolute Radio business from Times of India. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. The FT is reporting that Bauer paid between £20 and £25 million. Times of India Group acquired Virgin Radio for £53.2m in 2008 before rebranding it as Absolute.

Paul Keenan, CEO, Bauer Media UK, said, “We are looking forward to working with the award-winning team at Absolute Radio and have great respect for what it has achieved.  We are excited about welcoming this complementary music radio business with renowned digital assets into Bauer.”

Donnach O’Driscoll, CEO, Absolute Radio, said, “The Absolute Radio business has never been in better shape as we approach our fifth birthday.  Bauer Media UK is a business that really cares about building famous media and entertainment brands and music radio in particular. This brand will continue to thrive as part of the Bauer group.”

Keenan added:  “Absolute Radio and its sister brands are loved by millions of UK consumers and by advertisers.  This acquisition will be an opportunity to learn and share across both businesses.”

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Radio One Inc. Increases Stake in Reach Media

Radio_one_logoRadio One Inc. though its wholly owned subsidiary Radio One Media Holdings has completed the purchase of shares of broadcaster Reach Media Inc. from minority shareholders worth $2 million. This transaction has increased its stake in Reach Media to approximately 80% from 53%, giving the firm an implied valuation of around $7.4 million.

Reach Media Inc., founded in 2003 by Tom Joyner and David Kantor is a cross platform media company which produces radio programmes, websites, events and initiatives targeted towards African-Americans. Its most popular show “The Tom Joyner Show” is aired in over 100 markets and reaches an audience of over eight million listeners.

Radio One CEO and President Alfred Liggins has commented on the transaction, stating ““Radio One has a commitment to be the leader in radio and online programming with compelling entertainment and information for the African-American audience,” and that by “combining our assets under Reach Media offers a […] broad platform for affiliate stations and advertisers to connect with our […] audience.”

Following the transaction, Radio One is to consolidate its Syndication One Urban programming line up with those offered by Reach Media to make Reach the largest radio network in the US catering specifically to an African-American audience.

US, Silver Lake, MD & US, Dallas, TX

Salem Web Network acquires Godvine.com

Salem Web Network, the online division of Salem Communications Corporation, a U.S. radio broadcaster, Internet content provider and publisher targeting audiences interested in Christian and conservative opinion content, has acquired Christian website, Godvine.com.

Godvine.com is a leading source for Christian and family-friendly videos, reaching approximately 3.5 million visitors and nearly 30 million page views per month. Godvine.com has over 2.8 million Facebook fans.

The addition of Godvine.com will make Salem Web Network the largest online destination for Christian content with an average of 5.8 million unique visits per month.

“The acquisition of Godvine immediately delivers a substantial new audience to Salem. We’ve watched it become one of the most widely visited Christian websites and we are thrilled to put our expertise and knowledge behind this rapidly growing website and take it to the next level,” said Rick Killingsworth, Executive Vice President at Salem Web Network.

David Evans, President of New Business Development, Interactive and Publishing at Salem Communications added, “Over the past two years Godvine.com has experienced phenomenal social media growth. With this acquisition Salem now has a great opportunity to really begin to take advantage of social media for sharing inspiration and the Gospel of Christ.”

USA, Richmond, VA