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Pandora Shares Rise On Report That CEO Tim Westergren Will Leave

Deadline logo Deadline 6/26/2017 David Lieberman

Pandora Media investors appear to be encouraged by a report that CEO Tim Westergren will leave once the board settles on a replacement.

The share price is up 2.8% in morning trading following the news from Recode’s Peter Kafka.

Westergren, who helped to co-found Pandora in 1999, may have seen the writing on the wall early this month. SiriusXM — owned by John Malone’s Liberty Media — agreed to invest $480 million in the streaming media company for 19% of the stock. In addition, SiriusXM will control three seats on Pandora’s nine-member board, with one serving as chairman.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey’s Mathew Thornton says that although Westergren’s decision is “not a big surprise,” the timing is: “We had expected management change post the close of the [SiriusXM]  investment” which is supposed to take place late this year.

He expects Westergren’s replacement to come from outside the company, with top investors “heavily involved in the process.”

The analyst adds that we still don’t know whether Westergren will leave the board.

If he does, then the body will have to replace him and Tony Vincequerra — who just resigned after he was named CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment — in addition to absorbing the three SiriusXM picks.

Pandora’s value diminished as it struggled to keep up with streamed music competitors including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Spotify. Pandora reported a $132.3 million net loss in Q1, up 14.9%, on revenues of $316.0 million, up 6.3%.

Its market value has declined 34% so far in 2017.

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