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

Go deeper

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

Photo: Spotify

Spotify announced Wednesday plans to acquire The Ringer, a sports media company founded by former ESPN personality Bill Simmons.

Why it matters: 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.

Luminary's global expansion could heat up the podcast subscription wars

Reproduced from The Nielsen Total Audience Report, February 2020; Chart: Axios Visuals

Luminary is expanding its service to three new countries, New Zealand, South Africa, and Ireland, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: Its subscription podcast offering is bolstered by offering dozens of podcasts to users exclusively on its platform. Most Americans subscribe to multiple video services, but not multiple audio services, according to Nielsen. But that could soon change if more podcasts begin to be offered exclusively on certain platforms.

Record labels rush to IPO amid music streaming boom

Illustration: Caresse Haaser, Rebecca Zisser / Axios

An explosion in people paying for music via streaming services is helping to revive the decades-old record label business, which is now preparing for a slew of public offerings.

Why it matters: "There hasn't been this much optimism in the music business since the invention of the CD," says Ross Gerber, co-founder, president and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management.