Pandora lands $480M investment from SiriusXM, sells Ticketfly to Eventbrite

The sale of ticketing platform Ticketfly was valued at $200 million, and the plan going forward is for the two companies will enter into a future distribution agreement

Things have not been great at Pandora but the streaming service has bought some time with some moves announced today. The company announced that SiriusXM is making a $480 million investment in Pandora, and Pandora announced that it had sold Ticketfly to Eventbrite for $200 million. You can easily add up the dollars, but the bottomline is that Pandora has a nice cash infusion now.

For now, at least, the idea that Pandora will be sold is probably no longer a thing, but at some point Pandora needs to deal with the fact that Apple Music and Spotify are edging it out. Pandora is especially weak outside the US, where much of the growth has been for its rivals.

“This strategic investment in Pandora represents a unique opportunity for SiriusXM to create value for its stockholders by investing in the leader in the ad-supported digital radio business, a space where SiriusXM does not play today,” said Jim Meyer, Chief Executive Officer of SiriusXM. “Pandora’s large user base and its ability to provide listeners with a personalized music experience are tremendous assets. With its strong technology and new product offerings, we believe there are exciting opportunities for Pandora to accelerate its growth and increase value for Pandora and SiriusXM stockholders.”

“Through this agreement, SiriusXM is making a strategic investment in the leading U.S. provider of ad-supported digital radio,” the announcement read, and I think this is the key to the investment. Ultimately, the traditional radio owners would not see non-ad supported streaming as a good thing should it become the prevailing format. It is a tough fight ahead, as subscription supported media continues to grow, but now they have shored up their position.

Update: Pandora released a press release about the sale and investment which they describe as strengthening their balance sheet and sharpening their focus”

“This is a very significant juncture in Pandora’s journey,” said Tim Westergren, Pandora’s CEO and founder. “After years of innovation and hard work we now have critical pieces in place: A massive and highly engaged audience, a market-leading digital advertising business, a best-in-class product portfolio, and a robust balance sheet that gives us the flexibility we need to attack what is becoming a larger and larger opportunity as digital music enters a new golden age.”

“With a loyal quarterly audience of nearly 100 million Americans, Pandora is a powerhouse in the music ecosystem and by far the leading player in the growing world of digital audio advertising — a category we believe is becoming increasingly prevalent in a world with young, hyper-mobile, multitasking consumers, and with a proliferation of connected devices with little or no user interface.”

“Pandora is now poised to advance to the next stage of the company’s lifecycle,” said Pandora Director, Tim Leiweke. “We are pleased that the conclusion of our strategic review resulted in a major investment by a world class company like SiriusXM, and with the sale of Ticketfly, we will now redouble our focus on execution supported by a strong balance sheet.”

Here is the announcement concerning the sale of Ticketfly to Eventbrite:

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – June 9, 2017  – Eventbrite, the world’s leading ticketing and event technology platform which powers nearly three million events each year, has entered into an agreement with Pandora to acquire Ticketfly, a leading ticketing platform focused on music promoters and venues, for $200 million. Additionally, Eventbrite and Pandora plan to enter into a future distribution agreement to extend the benefits already proven out with the Pandora and Ticketfly integration.

Eventbrite has spent a decade building the largest global platform for live experiences and is on track to process close to 200 million tickets worth $3 billion in gross ticket sales in 180 countries in 2017. Both Eventbrite and Ticketfly have proven themselves to be valuable partners to the live music industry: Eventbrite has ticketed more than 175,000 concerts and music festivals helping them sell more than $1 billion in tickets since inception; and Ticketfly currently works with over 1,800 of the top music promoters and venues across North America, supporting 100,000 events per year which generate $600 million in gross ticket sales. The acquisition brings together Eventbrite’s momentum in music, global scale, and expertise in event technology with Ticketfly’s marketing excellence and strong track record of success in music.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and we see immense alignment and opportunity with this union, especially as we continue to expand Eventbrite’s global footprint in music,” said Julia Hartz, CEO and co-founder of Eventbrite. “Together with Ticketfly, we will focus our collective energy on further developing our unparalleled solution and superior services for indie music venues and promoters around the world.”

Ticketfly’s co-founder and CEO Andrew Dreskin will lead Eventbrite’s music efforts. “We are happy to be joining forces with our friends at Eventbrite,” said Dreskin. “Ticketfly and Eventbrite are the two most progressive live events technology companies out there, and together we will create a transformational platform that will be game-changing for independent venues and promoters. We plan to build on the great work that Ticketfly and Pandora have done and offer the benefits of that partnership to Eventbrite’s customers, delivering even more live event notifications to Pandora listeners.”

“The combination of Ticketfly and Pandora proved our thesis that listeners want easy access to live events, and that we have the ability to promote and sell tickets at scale in a highly targeted way,” said Tim Westergren, CEO and founder of Pandora. “We look forward to expanding the opportunity to bring fans and artists together through our continued partnership with Eventbrite and Ticketfly.”

The acquisition announcement follows Eventbrite’s acquisition earlier this year of leading European ticketing company Ticketscript, and builds upon the tremendous traction the company has experienced in music since the launch of Eventbrite Venue, the first fully integrated booking, operations and ticketing solution for live music venues.

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