Following the purchase of the music streaming service Pandora Media, industry insiders are wondering if SiriusXM could team up with Live Nation Entertainment next.
Last week, SiriusXM announced its $3.5 billion acquisition of Pandora. After acquiring the streaming service, rumors have been flying regarding SiriusXM and Live Nation. Both companies are under Liberty Media, which already owns 34 percent of Live Nation and 72 percent of SiriusXM. Additionally, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei is the chairman of both.
According to BTIG Research analyst Brandon Ross, the merger of the two companies is “inevitable.” Ross said this past summer that investors believe this as well, noting that while Pandora and SiriusXM have merit, Live Nation “completes the puzzle,” Variety reports.
“We and a growing group of investors have come to believe a nearer-term combination of SiriusXM and Live Nation is inevitable,” Ross said. “We believe Liberty President and CEO, Greg Maffei, has long desired to combine Sirius and Live Nation into a single music distribution company and has encouraged a marriage of his two music industry interests in the past.”
Ross said the potential deal could work since SiriusXM has a “terminal value problem” and Live Nation “is near maximum leverage.” Macquarie Capital analyst Amy Yong added that the addition of Live Nation “could be compelling.”
While the merger has advantages, Ross claims that SiriusXM would have to “pay a significant premium to get a deal done.” He said that one of the “puzzling” aspects of the Sirius-Pandora deal is the all stock financing, which could mean “Sirius is saving that cash for an eventual cash component to a Live Nation deal.” Plus, SiriusXM isn’t the only company after the ticketing giant – he said that Amazon and Spotify are also potential competitors.
Earlier this year, SiriusXM CFO David Frear denied interest in the merger, saying that the company is a “cash-flow machine” and they need to “look at ways to deploy the capital and grow the business, first through organic investments.” Nonetheless, he said the company is “constantly looking” and “when we see things of value, we’ll go.”
The Sirius/Live Nation rumors come in light of a third class-action lawsuit against Ticketmaster – whose parent company is Live Nation – after reports showed the ticketing company’s resale operations. Reports by the CBC and the Toronto Star outline the pro-broker programs Ticketmaster operates, noting that the company works closely with professional ticket brokers although they are known as a primary box office.