Feb 12, 2020 - Economy & Business

Spotify to pay up to $196 million in cash for The Ringer

Bill Simmons. Photo: Mike Windle / Staff/Getty Images

Spotify disclosed in an SEC filing Wednesday that it is paying up to $196 million for The Ringer, a sports media company founded by former ESPN personality Bill Simmons.

Why it matters: It's a solid payout for The Ringer, which was created just four years ago. The Ringer's podcast revenues surpassed $15 million in 2018, and the company says it's profitable.

Details: Spotify said it entered a deal with The Ringer to pay between €130 million and €180 million (roughly $140 million and $196 million), subject to closing costs as well as deferred payments.

  • The deferred payments are based on contingencies, like performance and whether executives from The Ringer stay with Spotify after the deal closes for an unknown period of time.

The big picture: The acquisition speaks to Spotify's massive investment in podcasting over the past year, as the company aims to expand its offering solely from music to audio, including podcasts.

  • Spotify spent nearly $400 million to acquire podcast companies last year, after committing to spending at least $500 million on podcasting at the beginning of that year. This acquisition means Spotify has exceeded its upfront commitment.

Go deeper: Spotify acquires Bill Simmons' "The Ringer" to boost podcast business

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announces removal of Robert E. Lee statue

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced on Thursday that the state will remove the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond's historic Monument Avenue.

Why it matters: It's a watershed moment for Virginia, which has been at the center of a years-long national debate about whether Confederate monuments should be displayed publicly. That discussion reached a boiling point when protests about a statue of Lee in Charlottesville turned violent in 2017.

RNC expands convention search across the Sun Belt

Donald Trump, Mike Pence and their families on the last night of the Republican National Convention in Ohio in 2016. Photo: David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images.

The Republican National Committee is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host, people familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Driving the news: The RNC's executive committee voted Wednesday night to allow most of the convention to move — with only a smaller, official portion remaining in Charlotte — after North Carolina's governor said the coronavirus pandemic would mean a scaled-back event with social distancing and face coverings.

Oil faces tough road back from coronavirus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Oil companies in the battered shale patch are starting to bring back some production as prices climb, but a new report underscores how the pandemic is taking a heavy financial toll despite signs of revival.

Driving the news: Fourteen North American producers have filed for bankruptcy thus far during the second quarter, per a tally from the law firm Haynes and Boone, which closely tracks the sector's finances.