Pandora Said to Consider Ticketfly Sale Among Deal Options
(Bloomberg) -- Pandora Media Inc. is considering a plan to sell its Ticketfly business, acquired less than two years ago, to concentrate on its music-streaming service, according to people familiar with the matter.
The online-radio provider is still looking for a buyer for the entire company, but a sale of the ticketing business could be an option if that doesn’t happen, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private information.
Pandora declined to comment. The company, led by Chief Executive Officer Tim Westergren, stepped up its search for an acquirer this week after announcing a $150 million investment from private-equity firm KKR & Co. and the creation of an independent board committee. Investors such as hedge fund Corvex Management LP have questioned Pandora’s strategy, including its foray into ticketing, and have urged a possible sale because of losses and a tumbling stock price.
Shares of Pandora rose 1.1 percent to $9.93 at 1:27 p.m. in New York.
Pandora paid $335 million for Ticketfly in 2015, a move then-CEO Brian McAndrews hailed as a “game-changer.” Ticketfly handles ticket sales for hundreds of venues across North America, and Pandora has tried to use the data it has about music fans to sell more tickets.
Founded by Andrew Dreskin, Ticketfly competes with Live Nation Entertainment Inc.’s Ticketmaster, the market leader. Ticketmaster acquired Dreskin’s previous startup, TicketWeb.
The online-radio company is poised to evaluate any strategic option, including a sale, in the 30 days before the KKR deal closes, board member James M.P. Feuille said this week in a statement. Feuille will be stepping down from the board, as will Peter Gotcher.
The fast growth of Spotify and Apple Music, along with the billions of dollars Amazon and Google are investing in music, have pressured Pandora to expand beyond its roots as an internet radio company and become an on-demand streaming service seeking paying subscribers.
Sirius XM Holdings Inc., the satellite-radio provider controlled by billionaire John Malone, has sometimes expressed interest in doing a deal for Pandora, though executives have downplayed their desire for a merger on other occasions. Centerview Partners LLC and Morgan Stanley are advising Pandora’s board on strategic alternatives.