Last week, the billionaire’s Liberty Media swooped in as a potential white knight for IHeartMedia to help the biggest U.S. radio broadcaster ease its debt of more than $20 billion. Malone’s company would sponsor the broadcaster through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in exchange for a 40 percent stake.
Bloomberg reports that would give Malone a stake in traditional, satellite and online radio. On an earnings call Thursday, Liberty Media Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei, cited “substantial synergies” between the ailing iHM and two other Malone investments: the majority-owned satellite radio giant SiriusXM Holdings Inc. and Pandora Media Inc., the online music company where Liberty took a minority position last year.
“With the advantage we can bring to the table we think we can perhaps reduce some of the risks that are inherent in the business,” Maffei said.
Sirius could help iHeart protect its position in FM radio in cars (SirusXM comes installed in many cars). And Maffei also sees opportunities to cross-promote personalities at the two companies.
Howard Stern is the biggest name at SiriusXM, while iHM has a deal with syndicated radio personality Elvis Duran, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity among others. iHeart and Pandora, meanwhile, could share advertising technology and salesforces, Maffei said. iHeart’s is larger than those at Pandora and Sirius, he said.