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Pandora Investors Nervous as Acquisition Deadline Nears

Variety logo Variety 6/7/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Pandora investors continued to be skittish Wednesday, sending the stock down another 5.5% as they anxiously awaited any news about a potential acquisition ahead of a critical Thursday deadline. Shares of Pandora have declined around 13 percent since reports surfaced Monday that raised doubts about a possible acquisition.

This week’s race to the finish line has been prompted by a deal Pandora struck with private equity fund KKR last month. Under that deal, Pandora agreed to an investment of $150 million by KKR, provided that it wouldn’t be able to sell its entire business within 30 days. That deadline is up Thursday, and there’s been very little news about potential acquirers stepping up to the plate.

One company that’s reportedly been kicking the tires is satellite radio service provider Sirius XM, but Sirius XM CFO David Frear went on the record at an investor conference last week calling any chatter about acquisitions “not very likely.”

A Pandora spokesperson declined to comment.

However, there are signs that KKR’s investment may not be the only component of the company’s plan B: The New York Post reported this week that Verizon may be looking to join KKR as an investor, possibly shelling out as much as $100 million for preferred company stock. And Bloomberg reported last month that Pandora may be looking to sell its ticketing business subsidiary Ticketfly.

Pandora has been struggling with investor expectations in light of stagnant listener growth for its ad-supported personalized radio product and growing competition from premium services like Spotify and Apple Music. To fend off the latter, Pandora launched a paid on-demand tier earlier this year.

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