Official: Spotify to buy the Ringer

Spotify has entered into a definitive agreement to buy media outlet the Ringer to grow its original sports audio content capabilities.

The company was founded by ESPN exec Bill Simmons in 2016. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Today’s news follows a Wall Street Journal article published last month which reported that Spotify was in talks to buy the company.

The news of the acquisition also follows Spotify’s confirmation today (February 5) that it ended December 2019 with 124m Premium subscribers and 271m total Monthly Active Users (MAUs) worldwide.

The Ringer is a website, podcast network and scripted and non-scripted video production house creating sports, pop culture, politics, and tech content.

The Ringer Podcast Network includes over 30 popular podcasts, featuring shows such as The Bill Simmons Podcast, The Rewatchables and The Ryen Russilio Podcast, among many others.

The company also boasts a successful 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.

Meanwhile, Ringer Films, launched in 2018, produces long and short-form non-scripted programming.

The Ringer also recently announced the launch of Ringer Books , including the first three titles on that imprint.

With this acquisition, Spotify says that it “continues to deliver against its goal to become the world’s leading audio platform”.

The Ringer will bring to Spotify its sports and entertainment team, podcast catalog and website.

With its popular show lineup, according to the press release announcing the acquisition, “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”.

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

SPOT first hinted at its intention to grow its sports offering in early 2019 when it was advertising for a Sports Lead, Spotify Studios and said it was planning to launch a “sports content portfolio” based around audio podcasts.

A report from Bloomberg on January 8 2020, citing people familiar with the matter, suggested that Spotify is now ‘developing several daily sports shows’ as part of its original content drive.

“We look forward to putting the full power of Spotify behind The Ringer as they drive our global sports strategy.”

Dawn Ostroff, Spotify

“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.”

“We’re joining one of the best media companies in the world. It’s an incredible day for us.”

Bill Simmons, The Ringer

Bill Simmons, The Ringer founder, and podcast host added: “Spotify has the unique ability to truly supercharge both content and creator talent across genres.

“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.”Music Business Worldwide

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