The France-based streaming service Deezer, which has a relatively low profile in the U.S. but is one of the world’s largest streamers, is merging with a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) with an eye toward going public at a $1.13 billion valuation, the companies told the Wall Street Journal.
Deezer, which launched in 2007, is merging with Paris-listed I2PO SA. According to WSJ, it is a so-called blank-check company backed by France’s Pinault family, the controlling shareholder of Gucci-owner Kering, as well as Centerview Partners banker Matthieu Pigasse. The vehicle is headed by former WarnerMedia executive Iris Knobloch.
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A rep for Deezer declined Variety’s requests for further comment.
Paris-based Deezer has 9.6 million subscribers and generated revenue of €400 million in 2021, the company said. In addition to a music catalog of 90 million-plus songs, it also offers as podcasts, audio books and radio channels.
Deezer attempted an IPO in 2015 but backed off after a steep decline in listeners at Pandora radio cooled the market for streaming services. Pandora was acquired in 2018 by Sirius XM Holdings Inc. for $3 billion.
While Deezer has a 29% market share in France and 17% in Brazil, its global reach is just 2%, compared with 31% for world leader Spotify, 15% for Apple Music and 13% for Amazon Music, the three largest providers.
“What we’re trying to do with our partners is replicate the Apple and Amazon strategy, but we bring the music product and they bring the user base, so together we can replicate that model,” Jeronimo Folgueira, Deezer’s chief executive (pictured above), told the WSJ. “We need to compete against them and our partners need to compete against them, and together we can compete better.”
In a statement, Deezer said that most of its existing shareholders will remain invested in the company, including Kingdom Holding Co., which is controlled by Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, and Access Industries, the industrial conglomerate founded by billionaire Len Blavatnik that controls Warner Music Group Corp. Other Deezer investors include Universal Music Group, Sony Group Corp. and French telco operator Orange SA.
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