Spotify rival Saavn merges with JioMusic in $1bn-valued deal

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The streaming music landscape in India is hotting up.

MBW hears that Spotify is planning a soft launch in the territory this summer, Facebook is currently negotiating music licensing deals in the market and today… this.

One of the leading streaming platforms in India, Saavn, is being merged with rival service JioMusic is a hugely significant deal that values the newly-combined platform at over $1bn.

The move has been masterminded by Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) – one of India’s largest private corporations which boasts an annual turnover of more than $50bn.

As part of the deal, RIL has acquired a partial stake in Saavn for $104m, the company said today in a statement.

The firm said that the merger values JioMusic at $670m – suggesting that Saavn itself is being valued at $330m+.

RIL has pledged to further invest $100m into the Saavn-JioMusic platform, with $20m invested upfront.

The company says this money will be used ‘for growth and expansion of the platform into one of the largest streaming services in the world’.

The three co-founders of Saavn – Rishi Malhotra, Paramdeep Singh and Vinodh Bhat – will continue in their leadership roles at the head of the combined entity.

In a statement, RIL said that the ‘integrated business will be developed into a media platform of the future with global reach, cross-border original content, an independent artist marketplace, consolidated data and one of the largest mobile advertising mediums’.

They added that the move would ‘combine the streaming media expertise of Saavn with the connectivity and digital ecosystem of Jio’.

“Our alignment with Reliance enables us to create one of the largest, fastest-growing, and most capable media platforms in the world.”

Rishi Malhotra, Saavn

Akash Ambani, Director, Reliance Jio, said: “The investment and combination of our music assets with Saavn underlines our commitment to further boost the digital ecosystem and provide unlimited digital entertainment services to consumers over a strong uninterrupted network.

“We are delighted to announce this partnership with Saavn, and believe that their highly experienced management team will be instrumental in expanding Jio-Saavn to an extensive user base, thereby strengthening our leadership position in the Indian streaming market.”

Rishi Malhotra, Co-Founder and CEO at Saavn, said: “Nearly 10 years ago, we had a vision to build a connected music platform, dedicated to South Asian culture across the globe. Vin, Param and I always envisioned the company for the long term with intense focus on products, data, and ground-breaking original content.

“Our alignment with Reliance enables us to create one of the largest, fastest-growing, and most capable media platforms in the world.”

Paramdeep Singh, Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman at Saavn, added: “Saavn has been at the forefront of the digital music revolution in India. Our partnership with Reliance reinforces our commitment to the growth of our label partners, the independent artist ecosystem, and the overall music industry globally.”

“Our partnership with Reliance reinforces our commitment to the growth of our label partners, the independent artist ecosystem, and the overall music industry globally.”

Paramdeep Singh, Saavn

Goldman Sachs acted as financial advisor, AZB & Partners and Covington & Burling LLP acted as legal advisors and Ernst & Young provided tax advisory and diligence services to RIL.

The shareholder base of US-HQ’d Saavn includes Tiger Global Management, Liberty Media and Bertelsmann among others.

Saavn’s award-winning Original Programming, Artist Originals (AO), has seen the platform move towards becoming a record label in itself – delivering some of the biggest recent records in India and South Asia including Zack Knight and Jasmin Walia’s Bom Diggy.

JioMusic has been India’s fastest growing music streaming app for over 60 consecutive weeks, and has licensing deals with all major Indian and international labels – resulting in a catalogue of over 16 million HD songs across 20 languages.

Founded in 2007, Saavn offers 36 million tracks in 15 languages. It boasts 22 million unique monthly active users. The service offers both an ad-supported and Premium (‘Saavn Pro’) tier in India, and the premium service in many more markets worldwide.Music Business Worldwide

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