SiriusXM exec interested in buying Pandora ‘at the right price’
New York Post
12th January 2017
Gregory Maffei, chairman of SiriusXM, has told some shareholders this week that the satellite radio company is still interested in buying Pandora, The Post has learned. “Sirius would look at [Pandora] at the right price,” said a source familiar with conversations. Maffei reached out to Pandora’s board late last year, sparking a 20 percent in the streaming radio player’s shares, to $13.
85. But Pandora has given back most of that gain amid talk, as recently as last week, that SiriusXM’s interest had cooled. But that is not the case, sources said — despite SiriusXM’s chief financial officer, David Frear, telling an audience at the Consumer Electronic Show on Jan.
5 that a offer for Pandora is “not likely. ” Maffei told investors at a private dinner on Tuesday — an event tied to the Lionsgate annual investor day in Englewood, Colo. that SiriusXM was still interested in Pandora, sources said.
Maffei, the chief executive of Liberty Media, which owns 66 percent of SiriusXM, told the investors that he was concerned about Pandora losing roughly $200 million a year and that Pandora was trying to launch On Demand services that compete with huge tech giants such as Amazon and Apple. “It’s not a company, they haven’t executed,” Maffei told the shareholders, according to a source familiar with the conversations. Pandora’s shares, sliding each day since Frear’s CES comments, perked up on Thursday, rising 8 percent to $12.
89 in late trading, after it said it would ax 7 percent of its workforce and that it expected to exceed revenue and profit expectations. Including debt, Pandora is worth nearly $3 billion. Maffei has long harbored interest in Pandora.
Last summer, he said SiriusXM had sent a letter of intent to Pandora for $15. Since then, Pandora has come under increasing shareholder pressure to sell — with several shareholders pressing for a deal. “It is very important for Sirius to have a product that is delivered over internet protocol (IP) architecture and Pandora gives them a free product and internet distribution at scale [that] could go international,” a source close to Pandora said.
Sirius also might want Pandora to make its audience profile more youthful and take advantage of its demographic ad targeting. Pandora, working with investment bank Centerview Partners, is studying strategic alternatives, including a sale. Chief Executive Tim Westergren was at CES to meet new potential tech partners, sources said.
Matrix, one of Pandora’s biggest shareholders, arranged an introduction between Centerview and Samsung Electronics to gauge Samsung’s interest in buying Pandora, the sources noted. Samsung in November reached an agreement to buy auto electronics company Harman International for $8 billion, and might find adding Pandora complimentary, the Pandora source said. A Pandora spokeswoman said the firm didn’t comment on speculation.
SiriusXM also declined comment..
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