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Spotify Invests $196 Million To Acquire Bill Simmons’ The Ringer

Jordan Major

Spotify confirmed that it would invest at least $196 million to acquire The Ringer, Bill Simmons’ podcast and media company. The streaming music and audio company confirmed that it entered into a deal to acquire Bill Simmons Media Group for an amount between €130 million and €180 million in cash.

The acquisition will be complete subject to closing adjustments, a portion that is deferred as published in a company SEC filing on February 13. The deferred payouts are dependent on the performance and Simmons, together with several other Ringer executives remaining with Spotify.

This deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020. The Ringer startup was founded by ESPN alum Simmons in 2016. Spotify acquired this firm as part of bulking up its portfolio of podcasts.

The Ringer publishes at least 30 podcasts from Simmons and the startup’s staffers together with personalities like Larry Wilmore and David Chang. This acquisition will bring “highly loyal sports and culture fans to the platform,” according to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s February 5 earnings call.

While referencing Simmons’ ESPN background, Ek commented:

“The trend that we’re investing in is that radio is moving online. What we did with The Ringer, I think, is we bought the next ESPN.”    

Last year, Spotify paid $393 million to acquire Anchor, Gimlet Media, and Parcast podcast companies. It also paid payment incentives over four years, depending on employment, as explained in the regulatory filings.

The Anchor deal was $150 million-plus $22 million in incentives while the Gimlet deal was worth about $189 million and $44 million in incentives. On the other hand, the Parcast deal was $54 million-plus 11 million in incentives.

The Future

Spotify said that it would continue to invest in podcast content and infrastructure. It also alleged that podcast listening hours grew almost 200% in the past three months of 2019.

The Ringer Podcast Network’s podcasts comprise of many top-ranking shows like “The Rewatchables,” “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” and “The Ryen Russillo Podcast.”

This company’s original video content features “NBA Desktop” and has featured after-shows for HBO’s “Big Little Lies” and “Game of Thrones” that started streaming exclusively on Twitter.

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