Tag Archives: SiriusXM

Scripps Agrees to Sell Stitcher to SiriusXM for $325 Million



The E.W. Scripps Company has entered into an agreement with SiriusXM to sell podcast industry leader Stitcher for $325 million, a return of more than double Scripps’ investment in podcasting over the last five years.

The Stitcher company includes three distinct podcast business lines: the Midroll advertising rep firm; owned-and-operated podcast networks including comedy-focused Earwolf; and the Stitcher podcast listening platform.

Scripps was an early entrant into podcasting, acquiring Midroll in 2015 for $55 million and the Stitcher app in 2016 for $45 million. Since then, Stitcher has been a leader in the fast-growing podcast industry, growing revenue at CAGR of 52% from 2016-19. Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $7.6 million.

The opportunity for Stitcher and its employees to join a large pure-play audio company ensures it will expand upon its success, Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said.

“The sale is consistent with Scripps’ track record of growing businesses that capitalize on the evolution of consumers’ media habits and then unlocking shareholder value through spinoffs, exits, and continued organic growth,” said Symson. “Over and over, this strategy has proven effective as well as profitable for the company and its shareholders.”

“Today’s announcement, and the metrics around this sale, are an affirmation of our investment-for-growth strategy. We are firmly committed to our national businesses and are enthusiastic about the opportunities we see ahead of digital audio, over the top and over the air television.”

Transaction highlights:

    •  Sale price of $325 million, with $265 million of cash upfront; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2020 financial results and paid in 2021; earnout of up to $30 million based on 2021 financial results and paid in 2022
    • Full price representing an internal rate of return after taxes in the mid-20% range and cash-on-cash return of more than 2x, which incorporates the purchase prices for Midroll and Stitcher of $59.5 million as well as Scripps’ investments in the business over the last five years
    • Improvement in National Media segment profit and company EBITDA with the elimination of Stitcher annual losses in the high-teens millions of dollars
    • Estimated tax liability of approximately $70 million assuming the full earnout is achieved. Scripps has approximately $190 million of net operating loss carryforwards that would offset about $40 million in 2020 tax liabilities.
    • The move of all Stitcher employees to SiriusXM

“As a result of this transaction, Scripps is improving our leverage ratio through higher company EBITDA and garnering cash we can use toward debt reduction, which continues to be our highest priority,” Scripps Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lisa Knutson said.

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter, pending Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance. LionTree Advisors has acted as exclusive advisor to Scripps in the sale process, and BakerHostetler is serving as legal counsel.


FOX News Media Expands Broadcast Partnership with SiriusXM and Pandora



FOX News Media and SiriusXM have expanded their existing broadcast partnership, announced John Sylvester, Vice President of FOX News Audio. As a part of the new agreement, all of FOX News Podcasts’ original programming is now available to Pandora’s more than 60 million monthly users across all tiers of the service. Additionally, the platform’s daily news digest, The FOX News Rundown, now airs weekday mornings on SiriusXM’s Patriot Channel 125.

In making this announcement, Sylvester said, “We are thrilled to expand our longstanding partnership, ensuring SiriusXM and Pandora’s combined over 100 million listeners continued access to our cutting edge news coverage as well as our best in class lifestyle and opinion programming.”

Through this new agreement, a one-hour version of The FOX News Rundown now airs on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 each weekday at 5AM/ET. As FOX News Audio’s signature news and analysis podcast, the program features a team of FOX News Radio anchors and reporters, including Jaqui Heinrich, Dave Anthony, Lisa Brady, Jessica Rosenthal and Chris Foster, as they break down the day’s top headlines, present interviews with key newsmakers and provide insights from FOX News reporters stationed around the globe.

Featuring a catalogue of more than 20 original FOX News Podcasts, the expanded partnership also includes popular podcasts such as the FOX News Radio Newscast, the FOX Business Hourly Report, and I’ll Tell You What, hosted by The Daily Briefing and The Five’s Dana Perino and FOX News politics editor Chris Stierwalt.

The agreement also makes FOX News Radio’s three nationally syndicated talk shows, The Brian Kilmeade Show, FOX Across America with Jimmy Falla and The Guy Benson Show available to Pandora listeners. This builds upon the streaming platform’s existing portfolio of FOX News programming, including the audio of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) top-rated shows, such as The Five, Special Report with Bret Baier, The Story with Martha McCallum, Tucker Carlson Tonight, Hannity, The Ingraham Angle and FOX News @ Night with Shannon Bream.

Reaching over 36 million listeners across more than 1,500 affiliated stations throughout the country, FOX News Audio is a rapidly growing division of FOX News Media. Per Podtrac analysis, FOX News Podcasts rank among the top 20 podcasts networks in the United States, based on average monthly downloads. In addition, in April 2020, the platform experienced a 60 percent increase in total downloads from the previous year.


SiriusXM Acquires Simplecast



SirusXM announced the acquisition of Simplecast, a leading podcast management platform that enables podcasters to publish, manage, and measure their content. The Simplecast solution, pared with the award-winning monetization platform of AdsWizz, the adtech subsidiary of SiriusXM, creates an end-to-end solution that enables creators to publish and generate revenue from their podcasts all in one place.

Led by Founder & CEO, Brad Smith, the Simplecast platform, with its leading content management, audience analytics, and dynamic audio toolset, MAE (Moveable Audio Engine), has attracted some of the largest and most highly respected brands and publishers including Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, Netflix, Maximum Fun, Cloud10, QCODE, Anna Faris is Unqualified, Blue Wire, and Revision Path. The Simplecast platform is employed by a wide range of creators, from enterprise-level publishers and networks to independent niche podcasters.

Simplecast and AdsWizz will form SiriusXM’s publisher solution business, a full-service platform designed to meet the needs of podcast creators of all sizes. The acquisition expands and strengthens SiriusXM’s and Pandora’s tools and monetization services for podcasters and publishers. Through AdsWizz, SiriusXM offers a leading adtech solution for podcasters and networks, from dynamic ad insertion to ad serving, new programmatic solutions for podcasting, and the AdsWizz Podcast Marketplace, PodWave. Through Pandora for Podcasters, creators can easily submit their podcasts to reach Pandora’s millions of users and get access to data analytics tools and useful audience insights.

“Our goal is to provide audio publishers with state-of-the-art platforms and give them everything they need to be successful,” said Alexis van der Wyer, CEO of AdsWizz. “Empowering podcasters of any size to create, distribute, analyze, and monetize their work is the next natural step in pursuing our vision.”

“From the beginning, Simplecast’s mantra and mission was to remain laser-focused on podcast creators – building the best tools for publishing and insights,” said Brad Smith, the Founder & CEO of Simplecast. “The opportunity and alignment with AdsWizz allows our product — and our customers — access to a powerful monetization platform.  Two best-in-class platforms are now able to align with the shared mission of helping publishers succeed, while each team continues to focus on their respective areas of expertise.”

With the integration between AdsWizz and Simplecast’s MAE, podcast publishers are able to take advantage of the integrated solution now.


SoundCloud Announced $75M Investment from SiriusXM Holdings Inc.



SoundCloud and SiriusXM Holdings Inc. announced that the leading U.S. audio entertainment company, SiriusXM, has invested $75 million in SoundCloud, the world’s largest open audio platform. SoundCloud will use this additional investment to accelerate its product development and enhance the services that fuel its global community of creators and listeners.

“SoundCloud’s three consecutive years of strong financial performance directly reflect the success of our creator-led growth strategy,” said Kerry Trainor, Chief Executive Officer, SoundCloud. “We have an exciting roadmap focused on deepening the connections between creators and listeners that fuel creator discovery, career growth, and the evolution of music culture on SoundCloud. We’ve built a great relationship with SiriusXM through our highly successful Pandora ad sales agreement, and their investment gives us added capital flexibility to accelerate our vision and take advantage of strategic opportunities as they arise.”

“SoundCloud’s unique platform serves a vital role in today’s music ecosystem where new artists are discovered and build their fan base, and established artists experiment and connect directly with their fans in highly effective ways,” said Jim Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of SiriusXM. “We admire SoundCloud’s loyal and growing audience, its offering for creators, and its reputation and popularity in global music communities. We believe this is another opportunity to continue creating value for SiriusXM stockholders by investing in expanding digital audio platforms.”

The minority investment follows the highly successful ad relationship between SoundCloud and Pandora, a subsidiary of SiriusXM, which started in 2019. The agreement enables advertisers and brands to purchase SoundCloud’s U.S. ad inventory directly through Pandora, leveraging the company’s direct sales capabilities, targeting data, and audio programmatic platform. Together, SoundCloud and Pandora’s combined U.S. audience offering reaches more than 100 million unique listeners, creating the largest digital audio advertising marketplace.

Under the terms of the agreement, SiriusXM has purchased $75 million of securities for a minority investment, and the SoundCloud Board of Directors will expand to include two individuals designated by SiriusXM.


SiriusXM to Acquire Pandora



SiriusXM Holdings and Pandora Media today announced a definitive agreement under which SiriusXM will acquire Pandora in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $3.5 billion.

The combination of these two companies creates the world’s largest audio entertainment company. The combined company will engage in cross-promotion between SiriusXM’s base of more than 36 million subscribers across North America and 23 million-plus annual trial listeners and Pandora’s more than 70 million monthly active users.

The acquisition will enable leveraging of SiriusXM’s exclusive content and programming with Pandora’s ad-supported and subscription tiers to create unique audio packages while also utilizing SiriusXM’s extensive automotive relationships to drive Pandora’s in-car distribution. The press release mentioned “expanded monetization opportunities through both ad-supported and subscription services in and out of the vehicle.”

The press release says: “Following the completion of the transaction, there will be no immediate change in listener offerings.” I think the key word here is “immediate”. This is not a promise that things will not change.

The acquisition could bring up some issues for people who canceled their SiriusXM subscription because they strongly disagreed with the hiring of Steve Bannon. It may also be problematic for the people pushing SiriusXM to cancel Pearl Jam Radio. People who don’t want anything to do with SiriusXM, but who do want to continue using Pandora, face a moral dilemma.

Now might be a good time to find out if your favorite podcasts that are on SiriusXM or Pandora are available somewhere else. That will make it easier if the podcast disappears after the acquisition is final.