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SiriusXM invests in Pandora to get into on-demand music streaming

The company adds to its audio portfolio for $480 million.
Billy Steele, @wmsteele
06.09.17 in AV
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Pandora

Pandora made the leap to on-demand streaming back in March after building on the pieces Rdio left behind. Earlier this month, reports surfaced that the company was looking for a buyer. It didn't find one, but it was able to attract a big investor: SiriusXM. The satellite radio company announced today it's investing $480 million in Pandora, adding a portion of the à la carte music streaming service to its catalog of audio options. The deal gives SiriusXM a 19 percent stake in the company.

This isn't the first time the two were rumored to be in cahoots. CNBC reported in December that Pandora was in talks with SiriusXM about a buyout after rejecting an offer last summer. It took some time, but the two sides finally reached an agreement -- albeit not the all out acquisition that had been previously rumored to be on the table.

Of course, Pandora is no stranger to radio either. The company is best known for its artist-based internet stations that spin a mix of songs to suit your audio preferences. Pandora has prided itself on how good those recommendations are and it's using that accumulated knowledge to serve up suggestions in the Premium on-demand service, too.

For opening up its wallet, SiriusXM gains a lot more than a popular music service. When Pandora Premium launched, the company said it had 80 million users per month. That's a sizeable audience that SiriusXM will get access to on top of its satellite radio customer base.

Reports also indicated that Pandora might sell off its Ticketfly business as part of the acquisition plans. Eventbrite announced this morning that it would nab Pandora's ticketing option for $200 million. Liberty Media owns over half of SiriusXM, but it also owns a smaller piece of Live Nation Entertainment. That's the company that formed after two of the biggest event ticketing companies merged in 2010 -- Live Nation and Ticketmaster. It's easy to see why Ticketfly could've been a sticking point to getting a deal done.

Even though it found a big investor, Pandora isn't clear of all the hurdles. If PayPal gets its way, the company may have to change that fancy new logo it debuted last fall.

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