Sirius XM to acquire Pandora for $3.5 billion

Posted:
in General Discussion edited September 24
An all-stock transaction, set to close in early 2019, would create what Sirius calls the "world's largest audio entertainment company."

Pandora


Satellite radio giant SiriusXM announced Monday that it has agreed to acquire streaming music company Pandora for $3.5 billion in stock.

The acquisition of Pandora, the release says, "will enable SiriusXM to significantly expand its presence beyond vehicles into the home and other mobile areas." Sirius said it will make "investments in content, technology, innovation, and expanded monetization opportunities through both ad-supported and subscription services in and out of the vehicle," while also promising, "no immediate change" in listener offerings.

Pandora, founded in 2000, was a pioneer in streaming music, although it has receded in prominence in recent years following the arrival of such consumer competitors as Apple Music and Spotify.

But by mid-2017, Sirius XM had agreed to invest $480 million in Pandora, which led to Pandora's original executive team leaving and the company exiting non-U.S. markets. The merger, now a reality, had been rumored as far back as 2014, around the time Apple acquired Beats.

The price SiriusXM is paying for Pandora is actually more than the $3 billion Apple paid for Beats in 2014. That deal bought Apple both Beats' headphone and electronics business and Beats Music, which went on to form the basis for the development of Apple Music.

The SiriusXM/Pandora deal comes at a time when streaming is a much more lucrative and mature business than it was four years ago, with streaming now earning 75 percent of the music industry's revenue.

Pandora posted revenue of $384.8 million in the quarter ended July 31, while SiriusXM earned $1.4 Billion in revenue the same quarter.

Pandora now offers both ad-supported and subscription tiers, with a total of 70 million active users. It had launched a $14.99 Premium Family plan this past spring, in order to more directly compete with Apple Music and other streaming services.

Both SiriusXM and Pandora are available through Apple CarPlay apps.

"We have long respected Pandora and their team for their popular consumer offering that has attracted a massive audience, and have been impressed by Pandora's strategic progress and stronger execution. We believe there are significant opportunities to create value for both companies' stockholders by combining our complementary businesses," Jim Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of SiriusXM, said in the announcement. "The addition of Pandora diversifies SiriusXM's revenue streams with the U.S.'s largest ad-supported audio offering, broadens our technical capabilities, and represents an exciting next step in our efforts to expand our reach out of the car even further."

The merger, which includes a "go-shop" provision, has been approved by both companies' boards and is set to close in the first quarter of 2019, pending regulatory approval.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,389member
    Sirius XM is now a solution looking for a problem. Who would pay $200 per year (the Select package) for a service you can get on your smartphone at half the price. I got six months of free Sirius XM when I bought my new automobile and promptly let it expire. I just plug my iPhone in and use CarPlay to stream whatever I want. To demonstrate what a bad proposition Sirius XM is, after my trial subscription expired I started to get offer after offer from them and the price went down every time until it got to $5/month. I truly don’t understand the acquisition of Pandora when Sirius XM already offers its own app for streaming content. It’s starting to look like it will boil down to Apple and Google or Amazon once again. Spotify will eventually be acquired by somebody, probably Google or Amazon. 
    repressthis1983
  • Reply 2 of 12
    Pandora was a nifty service, even more so before Spotify/Apple Music got the formula for streaming right, but the notion that it was/is worth $3.5B is utterly laughable. That the buyer is another "walking dead" company only underscores how out-of-touch with the market both Pandora and Sirius are. For people who enjoy Pandora, I hope it sticks around for a while, but ... can't see it (or Sirius) doing anything going forward but swirling the drain for a while.
    stanhoperandominternetpersontokyojimurepressthis1983watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 12
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,261member
    lkrupp said:
    Sirius XM is now a solution looking for a problem. Who would pay $200 per year (the Select package) for a service you can get on your smartphone at half the price. I got six months of free Sirius XM when I bought my new automobile and promptly let it expire. I just plug my iPhone in and use CarPlay to stream whatever I want. To demonstrate what a bad proposition Sirius XM is, after my trial subscription expired I started to get offer after offer from them and the price went down every time until it got to $5/month. I truly don’t understand the acquisition of Pandora when Sirius XM already offers its own app for streaming content. It’s starting to look like it will boil down to Apple and Google or Amazon once again. Spotify will eventually be acquired by somebody, probably Google or Amazon. 
    Same experience here. It's not worth subscribing, and to make it even worse the quality is bad. Back in the day I did have a subscription, maybe four years or so ago, and as I recall it was tough figuring out how to go about canceling it. They made it hard and hidden away. Since then, and aggressively so with our new vehicle purchases, they've made these low-ball offers to come back or continue. Even with the "free" 6 month trial that came with my truck I might have spent all of 30 minutes browsing thru the content content before it expired. Nothing of interest to me, still bad sound quality compared to streaming via phone.

    Gobbling up Pandora looks like a last gasp to me, a gambit to remain relevant. Sirius has outlived its usefulness IMHO. If anything I'm more surprised at Pandora agreeing to tie their wagon to them. 
    edited September 24
  • Reply 4 of 12
    Sirius is till a thing?
    repressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 12
    lkrupp said:
    Sirius XM is now a solution looking for a problem. Who would pay $200 per year (the Select package) for a service you can get on your smartphone at half the price. I got six months of free Sirius XM when I bought my new automobile and promptly let it expire. I just plug my iPhone in and use CarPlay to stream whatever I want. To demonstrate what a bad proposition Sirius XM is, after my trial subscription expired I started to get offer after offer from them and the price went down every time until it got to $5/month. I truly don’t understand the acquisition of Pandora when Sirius XM already offers its own app for streaming content. It’s starting to look like it will boil down to Apple and Google or Amazon once again. Spotify will eventually be acquired by somebody, probably Google or Amazon. 
    Problem is the cheap XM offers are for in-dash only and don’t include the mobile app, tv app, or web. It’s another $5 for that, which is often more or rivals the cost of Apple Music or Spotify, where you can select anything and download the music locally. XM just isn’t priced competitive considering it’s a streaming-only radio service. 

    Also, XM’s NPR news (talk) is highly compressed so it doesn’t sound very good. Meh. 
    edited September 24 stanhoperepressthiswatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 12
    We enjoyed having XM for a couple of years.  We got a promo deal so it was only $112 with tax for the year.  But the sound quality sucks and I can't believe after all this time they haven't made it better.  And we already have Apple Music so we couldn't see continuing to pay for it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 12
    The one thing I like about Sirius XM is that it doesn't require a cellular connection. This is important when traveling in remote areas. Otherwise, I prefer Pandora.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    I work alone and listened to talk shows on Sirius avidly until shortly after the XM merger.
    For the ability to listen in the car or portable, I had to buy a device that cost a few hundred dollars and install a dock in my truck for it.  I then paid $99/yr for the subscription, which I had no problem paying. Even got a subscription for my wife's new car too.
    But then the prices skyrocketed, stations gained commercials & "music-only" stations gained hosts that mentioned sponsors while at the same time other music streaming services & podcasts took off.
    I now avidly listen to streaming services and podcasts and haven't been a subscriber to Sirius for years.
    My wife still renews her subscription at about $5/ month (when she threatens to cancel) for the basic music plan but prefers to use apple music streaming because its better and also has a more consistent signal vs the sirius satellites (lotta trees around us). 

    I think Sirius' only play here would be to try to bring some of its exclusive content to a competitively priced streaming service. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 12
    I am a 12+ year subscriber to SiriusXM and have zero complaints about their service or pricing. I have it in all of my cars and as a part of my Russound whole house audio system. People can nitpick and second guess their market and purpose, but they have a service that works. I turn on the car and it starts playing and can tune into the channel I want instantly without futzing with phone. I subscribe to the Select package, but they have more costly plans with material (other than music) you cannot get anywhere else.

    And yes they have an app and I use it occasionally, but to use it all the time would force me into an unlimited plan at an additional $56 per month, which is significantly more than I pay for the 5 radio subscriptions I have (SiriusXM subscription's can be had for much less than advertised). I am sure the audio streaming apps eat up limited data plans in short order as well. 

    The highly compressed complaint is way overblown and frequently mentioned by those who don't want to pay for the service or don't need it. For 99.99% of the people they cannot tell the difference nor do they care. If you are listening to audio in a car then the sound quality is already severely compromised, unless you have plowed a lot of dough into an aftermarket high-end system (I am not referring to anything that came with your car no matter what name brand the automobile manufacturer has attached to the audio system).

    All that said a company buying any music service is a mistake. Pandora has nothing that can't be copied or improved upon, same for Spotify. Amazon Music and Apple Music. The only leverage these companies have is the size of their libraries and whether or not they have other revenue streams that can prop up the cost of the music licensing they all have to pay to stream. Pandora and Spotify do not nor do they have any future on their own other than burning through investor cash.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 12
    jimh2 said:

    And yes they have an app and I use it occasionally, but to use it all the time would force me into an unlimited plan at an additional $56 per month, which is significantly more than I pay for the 5 radio subscriptions I have (SiriusXM subscription's can be had for much less than advertised). I am sure the audio streaming apps eat up limited data plans in short order as well. 

    The highly compressed complaint is way overblown and frequently mentioned by those who don't want to pay for the service or don't need it. For 99.99% of the people they cannot tell the difference nor do they care. If you are listening to audio in a car then the sound quality is already severely compromised, unless you have plowed a lot of dough into an aftermarket high-end system (I am not referring to anything that came with your car no matter what name brand the automobile manufacturer has attached to the audio system).
    My use of Apple Music in the car has never eaten up my data plan. It doesn't use that much data to stream audio.

    Disagree on the compression -- it's entirely noticeable on talk radio when I had the service, instantly noticeable as worse than terrestrial radio. Thus, switching back to normal radio + Apple Music just seemed like a no brainer. 

    I enjoyed having DJ-hosted channels, but not worth the trade off (but there was still a lot of repetition).
    gatorguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 12
    2 + 2 = 3
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 12
    claire1claire1 Posts: 446unconfirmed, member
    A dying company buys a dying company.

    I really wish Apple would add more live stations though. That's something XM can't be bashed for. 

    watto_cobra
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