Friday, May 8, 2020

LiveXLive To Acquire PodcastOne

Digital-media company LiveXLive Media Inc. will acquire PodcastOne parent Courtside Group Inc., the companies said, in a bet that bigger is better amid the coronavirus pandemic and that soaring ad revenue will return to podcasting.

The Wall Street Journal reports the all-stock deal, which will make PodcastOne founder Norman Pattiz a major shareholder in LiveXLive, values the podcast network at $18.1 million as of Thursday’s closing, with the transaction expected to close in June.

LiveXLive, which streams radio, on-demand video and live performances, will now offer podcasts both to its free, ad-supported users and to subscribers. Courtside, founded in 2010, brings via PodcastOne a roster of talent, including Adam Carolla, Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Austin, Kaitlyn Bristowe and rapper Tip “T.I.” Harris. Mr. Pattiz, a broadcasting veteran who also founded radio network Westwood One, will join as chairman of the new podcasting unit.

PodcastOne, with a library of more than 300 podcasts, produces over 350 episodes each week and generates over 2.1 billion downloads annually.

The deal, at current stock pricing, is more conservative than many in the fast-growing podcasting space over the past two years. Companies and talent have been fetching a premium when they join media giants Spotify Technology SA, iHeartMedia Inc., Entercom Communications Corp. and E.W. Scripps Co. ’s Stitcher. PodcastOne recorded $27.5 million in revenue in 2019.

Pattiz and LiveXLive Chief Executive Rob Ellin acknowledged the difficult environment—particularly for advertising—brought on by the pandemic and said they were focused on building a bigger and more diversified company.

“This is about, ‘Where are we going to be in three to four years,’ not where we are today,” said Mr. Ellin. “Nobody expects this year to be easy. We’re in this for the long run.”

The companies, both based in Los Angeles, envision cross-pollinating advertisers, subscribers and talent across their offerings, which span from streaming concerts and internet radio to podcasts.

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