Spotify Announces Strategic Acquisition of Bill Simmons’ The Ringer to Grow Sports Vertical


NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Spotify Technology S.A. (NYSE:SPOT), the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service, today announced that the company has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Ringer, a leading creator of sports, entertainment and pop culture content. The Ringer was founded by Bill Simmons in 2016. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

With this acquisition, Spotify continues to deliver against its goal to become the world’s leading audio platform. The Ringer will bring to Spotify its industry leading sports and entertainment team, podcast catalog and website, further expanding Spotify’s content offering and audience reach. With its popular show lineup, The Ringer also offers new opportunities for monetization along with a continued focus on deepening audience engagement and innovating formats within Spotify’s business model. Not only has Simmons been a podcast pioneer in sports, he has also been a dominant force in the podcast pop culture arena.

We look forward to putting the full power of Spotify behind The Ringer as they drive our global sports strategy,” said Dawn Ostroff, Chief Content Officer, Spotify. “As we set out to expand our sports and entertainment offerings, we wanted a best-in-class editorial team. Bill Simmons is one of the brightest minds in the game and he has successfully innovated as a writer and content creator across mediums and platforms. The Ringer’s proven track record of creating distinctive cultural content as well as discovering and developing top tier talent will make them a formidable asset for Spotify.”

Spotify has the unique ability to truly supercharge both content and creator talent across genres,” said Bill Simmons, The Ringer founder, and podcast host. “We spent the last few years building a world-class sports and pop culture multimedia digital company and believe Spotify can take us to another level. We couldn’t be more excited to unlock Spotify’s power of scale and discovery, introduce The Ringer to a new global audience and build the world’s flagship sports audio network. We’re joining one of the best media companies in the world. It’s an incredible day for us.”

The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2020 and subject to customary closing conditions.

About Spotify Technology S.A.

Spotify transformed music listening forever when we launched in 2008. Our mission is to unlock the potential of human creativity by giving a million creative artists the opportunity to live off their art and billions of fans the opportunity to enjoy and be inspired by these creators. Everything we do is driven by our love for music and podcasts.

Discover, manage, and share over 50 million tracks and over 700,000 podcast titles for free, or upgrade to Spotify Premium to access exclusive features including offline mode, improved sound quality, and an ad-free music listening experience.

Today, we are the world’s most popular audio streaming subscription service with a community of more than 271 million users, including 124 million Spotify Premium subscribers, across 79 markets.

For more information, images, or to contact the press team, head over to our press page at https://newsroom.spotify.com/.

About The Ringer

THE RINGER, launched by Bill Simmons in 2016, is a website, podcast network and scripted and non-scripted video production house creating an innovative blend of sports, pop culture, politics, and tech content. The Ringer Podcast Network includes over 30 popular podcasts, featuring chart-topping shows such as “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” “The Rewatchables” and “The Ryen Russilio Podcast,” among many others.

THE RINGER also boasts an immensely successful and innovative video network including the Sports Emmy-winning show “NBA Desktop” as well as Game of Thrones and Big Little Lies after-shows, “Talk the Thrones” and “Big Little Live,” streaming live and exclusively on Twitter.

RINGER FILMS, launched in 2018, produces long and short-form non-scripted programming. Credits include HBO’s critically acclaimed André the Giant, the most-watched documentary in HBO Sports history. Additional projects include the upcoming HBO’s Showbiz Kids, a feature-length documentary about the highs and lows of children working in the entertainment industry as well as the upcoming Women of Troy, about the groundbreaking USC women’s basketball team of the 1980s.

THE RINGER also recently announced the launch of Ringer Books, including the first three titles on that imprint. The first release was Shea Serrano’s Movies (and Other Things), which debuted as a #1 New York Times Bestseller in October 2019. Additionally, Cousin Sal Iacono, host of The Ringer podcast Against All Odds With Cousin Sal, co-host of FS1’s Lock It In and writer and onscreen personality on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!, will write a gambling guide to be released in 2020. Finally, The Ringer staff writer Claire McNear will also publish a book in 2020 chronicling Jeopardy!, following her recent feature on contestant James Holzhauer.

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

We would like to caution you certain of the above statements represent “forward-looking statements” as defined in Section 27A of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the United States Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. The words “will,” “expect,” and similar words are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements we make regarding the potential benefits of the acquisition and the anticipated timing of the closing of the acquisition. We intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and include this statement for purposes of complying with the safe harbor provisions. Such forward-looking statements involve significant risks, uncertainties and assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from our historical experience and our present expectations or projections, including but not limited to the following known material factors: our ability to attract prospective users and to retain existing users; competition for users and user listening time; our dependence upon third-party licenses for most of the content we stream; our lack of control over the providers of our content and their effect on our access to music and other content; our ability to comply with the many complex license agreements to which we are a party; our ability to accurately estimate the amounts payable under our license agreements; the limitations on our operating flexibility due to the minimum guarantees required under certain of our license agreements; our ability to obtain accurate and comprehensive information about music compositions in order to obtain necessary licenses or perform obligations under our existing license agreements; new copyright legislation that may increase the cost and/or difficulty of music licensing; risks associated with our international expansion, including difficulties obtaining rights to stream content on favorable terms; our ability to generate sufficient revenue to be profitable or to generate positive cash flow on a sustained basis; our ability to expand our operations to deliver content beyond music, including podcasts; potential breaches of our security systems; assertions by third parties of infringement or other violations by us of their intellectual property rights; our ability to accurately estimate our user metrics and other estimates; risks associated with manipulation of stream counts and user accounts and unauthorized access to our services; changes in legislation or governmental regulations affecting us; risks relating to privacy and protection of user data; our ability to maintain, protect, and enhance our brand; ability to hire and retain key personnel; risks relating to the acquisition, investment, and disposition of companies or technologies; tax-related risks; the concentration of voting power among our founders who have and will continue to have substantial control over our business; risks related to our status as a foreign private issuer; international, national or local economic, social or political conditions; and risks associated with accounting estimates, currency fluctuations and foreign exchange controls; and such other risks as set forth in our filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.



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