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SiriusXM Buys Podcast Platform Stitcher

The audio-focused company has bought the E.W. Scripps Company platform for up to $325 million.

SiriusXM has entered an agreement with The E.W. Scripps Company to acquire podcast platform Stitcher for up to $325 million.

Upon completing the transaction, SiriusXM aims to advance its podcast ad market and help solve some of its critical challenges through precision targeting, ad efficiency and improved measurement capabilities via a streamlined ad marketplace. The deal combines SiriusXM's properties to become the provider for the most massive addressable audience in the U.S. across all digital audio categories – music, sports, talk and podcasts. The SiriusXM and Pandora owned-and-operated digital platforms, combined with the company's exclusive ad sales arrangement with SoundCloud for the U.S., and the Stitcher and Midroll networks that are subject to the agreement, will reach more than 150 million listeners. 

"The addition of Stitcher is an important next step as we continue to develop and strengthen our offering in the fast-growing podcasting market," says Jim Meyer, chief Executive officer, SiriusXM. "With Stitcher, we will expand our digital audio advertising presence and look to generate new ways for creators to find and connect with their audiences. Stitcher has a talented team with deep experience in the podcast space, and we look forward to working with them to better meet the needs of creators, advertisers, and listeners."

The deal will see SiriusXM make a $265 million cash payment to The E.W. Scripps Company during the third quarter of the year. It may also pay up to $60 million in additional payments if Stitcher achieves certain financial goals in 2020 and 2021.

Stitcher creates original podcasts, operates multiple content networks and provides podcast ad agency services for leading shows. Through its Midroll Media advertising network, Stitcher acts as a sales representative to connect advertisers and podcasts.

The now-sold company also owns and operates a popular mobile app, where consumers can stream the latest podcasts ranging from news, sports, talk and entertainment shows on-demand and free of charge. Users can pay for Stitcher's Premium subscription as well, which gives them access to premium content, including exclusive, ad-free and bonus podcast episodes, along with 300-plus comedy albums.

For SiriusXM, the deal follows the recent acquisition of podcast management and analytics platform Simplecast. The addition of Stitcher, alongside ad tech and monetization platform AdsWizz, will expand the company's existing suite of podcast hosting, analytics, insights and marketplace offerings. 

The deal also arrives following a recent partnership between SiriusXM and SoulCycle, which saw virtual workouts release on the audio platform.

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