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The Wall Street Journal: SiriusXM poised to acquire Stitcher podcasting unit from Scripps

The Wall Street Journal

$300 million deal would bolster Sirius’s podcasting offerings

Sirius generates most of its revenue from subscriptions to its satellite radio service.


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Sirius XM Holdings Inc. is near a deal to buy E.W. Scripps Co.’s
SSP,
+1.44%

Stitcher Inc. podcasting unit for around $300 million, according to people familiar with the matter.

The satellite-radio giant is working to expand into the rapidly growing podcasting industry, following similar moves by media and tech companies including Spotify Technology SA
SPOT,
-4.13%

and iHeartMedia Inc.
IHRT,
-0.28%

Stitcher runs a free podcast listening app and a premium $4.99 monthly service that lets subscribers listen to podcasts without ads. It also owns podcast networks including Earwolf and Stitcher Podcasts, with 50 shows including “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” and “Freakonomics Radio.” In partnership with outside networks and shows, Stitcher distributes and sells advertising for more than 250 podcasts — including “My Favorite Murder,” “WTF With Mark Maron” and “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations” — through its Midroll Media advertising unit.

Sirius
SIRI,
+0.51%

generates most of its revenue from subscriptions to its satellite radio service but in 2018 agreed to buy internet-radio streaming company Pandora Media Inc. for $3 billion — adding a business more reliant on advertising and with podcast aspirations of its own to its lineup.

U.S. ad revenue from podcasts rose an estimated 42% to $678.7 million last year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and is projected to rise to $863.4 million this year and exceed $1 billion by 2021.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com:

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