The online audio industry was eventful in 2018, especially on the consolidation front. Here are the top M&A events:
Acquisitions and Partnerships
- Triton Digital and audioBoom announed a merger in February … but it is called off in May. Then, in October, Scripps acquired Triton Digital.
- In a blockbuster September acquisition, fulfilling widespread expectation, Sirius XM wholly acquired Pandora, after buying a minority stake in 2017.
- Liberty Media, parent company of Sirius XM, seems intent on owning a big stake in audio generally, across all major platforms. In February it attempted to acquire a partial ownership of iHeartMedia debt while the radio giant was working through bankruptcy issues. More of that in March. Further speculation in May.
- iHeartMedia, for its part, did not let its year-long bankruptcy process prevent company acquisitions. In September it announced a purchase of podcast creation company Stuff Media, publisher of hit show How Stuff Works and others. Then, in November, iHM bought radio programmatic ad-tech company Jelli.
- Six months before Pandora was grabbed by SiriusXM (see above), Pandora itself acquired digital audio advertising tech company AdsWizz. So, 2018 was a notable year for audio advertising platforms, as both AdsWizz and Triton Digital (also see above) exited their independent status with new parent companies.
- In November, Euro-based media company Global grabbed Canada’s leanStream, which rebranded as DAX Canada, expanding the DAX programmatic audio platform up north after its acquisition of audioHQ in 2017 (which became DAX U.S.).
Other M&A developments in 2018:
- Streaming music service Saavn is folded into Indian telecom giant Reliance Jio.
- Spotify got Loudr.
- Ad agency Veritone One acquired Performance Bridge Media in a podcast ad deal.