Monday’s announcement that SiriusXM (SIRI) is planning to buy Pandora will make a conglomerate not seen before. The joining of the two services comes ten years after Sirius joined forces with XM radio to form the giant satellite radio company. With over 36 million subscribers in North America, the company is the largest of its kind.
Pandora (P) formed in 2000 as an alternative to traditional radio. The streaming format quickly picked up steam and gained in popularity. Shortly after its inception, a rush of competition entered the market space. Prime competitors of Pandora include Spotify (SPOT) and streaming music services offered by media and technology pioneers Apple (APPL) and Amazon (AMZN). The latest entry in the space is Tidal, the offering by musical artist Jay-Z, owned in part by Sprint (S).
The stage was set for the buyout last year when SiriusXM bought a 19 percent share of Pandora stock in an effort to help the struggling company. The $480 million purchase led to wide speculation that a full buyout would soon follow. Shortly after the stock investment, Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren was relieved from his duties as a board member and CEO while Michael Herring was let go as the company’s president.
At the time of last year’s purchase, Pandora’s stock had been down 35 percent. The losses were soon recouped as rumors of a buyout circulated. Although the company has lost $221 million in the first half of 2018, this number is still down 43 percent from the losses reported during the first half of 2017. Upon the announcement of the buyout, Pandora’s stock jumped nine percent. SiriusXM stock was only slightly lower in the hours after the purchase was announced.
SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer is confident that the joining together of the two complementary services will provide immense value to current subscribers and users.