LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) The voices are growing louder that a merger between Live Nation and SiriusXM is imminent – but cold water has already been poured on the speculation.
Analysts have mused on the potentials of such a merger, and recently Citigroup’s Jason Bazinet has said a merger between the live entertainment giant and the radio giant would create a “vertically integrated music titan.” Plus, Greg Maffei, CEO of SiriusXM parent company Liberty Media, sits on the board of Live Nation and recently said that the company may look at “ways to have them work together,” as noted by IQ. (Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, meanwhile, sits on the SiriusXM board.)
Now Brandon Ross of BTIG Research, who has been pronouncing the virtues of a merger between the two companies (plus Pandora, which SiriusXM invests in) since June 2016 saying it “could act as a powerful end-to-end music distribution platform from live music to streaming music and radio” now says a merger is being considered if Live Nation’s board agrees to the deal.
“We and a growing group of investors have come to believe a nearer-term combination of SiriusXM and Live Nation is inevitable,” Ross writes. “Or, put another way, that Liberty would like a deal to happen, which likely makes a transaction inevitable.
“A trail of data points has been widely circulated over the past month which give credence to this theory. The most interesting evidence comes from the words of [Liberty Media chairman] John Malone himself, in this excerpt from the 14 June WSJ: ‘There are some synergies amongst companies that we have a stake in that we’re still exploring’ that could lead to deals, Mr Malone said.”
Ross added that SiriusXM’s growth has slowed and music streaming and the growth of podcast apps has threatened SiriusXM’s in-car radio business, making a merger with Live Nation more enticing.
However, SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer dismissed the rumors today.
“I don’t have any comment on Live Nation. I don’t even know where that speculation is coming from. It’s not coming from SiriusXM,” Meyer said in an analyst call, according to Hollywood Reporter.
He specifically dismissed Ross’s claim of an imminent merger.
“For me, I wake up in the morning and see a headline in a research piece and it’s a bit like going into the supermarket and seeing that Paul is dead, or a Sasquatch has sat down for candid photos, or aliens abducted someone’s baby. There’s lots of headlines, but it’s not certain they have much to do with reality,” CFO David Grear told analysts.
Great touted his company’s successes, independent of any merger, noting it saw quarterly earnings rise 45 percent to $292 million compared with profits last year of $202 million, and that overall revenue is up 6 percent, adding 483,000 self-pay subscribers in the last quarter.