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SiriusXM to buy Stitcher podcast business for up to $325M

Sirius XM Holdings said Monday it will buy Stitcher, E.W. Scripps’ podcast business, for up to $325 million US, as the satellite radio company pushes further into the podcast space.

Stitcher streams podcasts such as Freakonomics RadioConan O’Brien Needs a Friend, My Favorite Murder, SuperSoul Sunday from the Oprah Winfrey Network, LeVar Burton Reads and WTF With Marc Maron.

Stitcher also owns and operates a mobile app listening platform where consumers can stream a range of podcasts, including news, sports, talk and entertainment shows, on-demand and free of charge with ads (or for a subscription fee without).

“The addition of Stitcher is an important next step as we continue to develop and strengthen our offering in the fast-growing podcasting market,” Jim Meyer, chief executive officer of SiriusXM, said in a news release.

Stitcher currently competes with the podcast libraries of companies such as Apple and Spotify.

SiriusXM, which bought online music service Pandora Media Inc in a $3.5 billion (all figures US) deal in 2018, has been investing to bolster its podcast business.

Last year, it signed a multi-year deal with Walt Disney Co, allowing it to create exclusive weekly podcasts, including five new series on popular Marvel characters such as Wolverine, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Star-Lord.

Last year, Sirius signed a deal with Walt Disney Co. to create exclusive weekly podcasts featuring popular Marvel characters such as Wolverine. (Marvel Comics)

Under terms of the deal, SiriusXM will pay $265 million in cash to Scripps, as well as up to $60 million in additional payments based on Stitcher achieving certain financial metrics in 2020 and 2021. Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $72.5 million.

Scripps said in a news release that the $325-million figure represents a return of more than double its investment in podcasting over the last five years.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020.

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