Tag Archives for " Tim Westergren "

Big Changes Are Coming To Pandora Soon

Pandora being sold?If you’re a Pandora user, the service that you know and hopefully love may very well be different in the next month. That’s because an investor revolt looks to be forcing the company’s sale, according to an enlightening expose’ by Music Business Worldwide, and that could come within the next two weeks by the way things are shaping up within the company.

Apparently on last Friday March 3rd new directors were scheduled to be nominated, and founder and CEO Tim Westergren’s tenure as a director was coming to an end. Since it was most unlikely that he would be renominated due to investor unhappiness, he managed to postpone the meeting was two weeks in order to gain some breathing room, which doesn’t normally happen in a publicly traded company.

The thought is that that newly appointed directors would force a sale (most likely to suitor Sirius XM) and force Westergren out as CEO. By postponing the meeting, Westergren has a chance to sell the company in that time period and keep his job, or that’s what the speculation would leave you to believe.

Pandora’s share price has taken a beating, dropping 22% since it’s IPO. It dropped 6% just in the last week after the chairman of Sirius XM parent company Liberty Media made a statement about Pandora being overvalued thanks to its operating loss of $343 million last year.

The big investors in Pandora no longer see a way to make the big money they were betting on and just want to get at least some of their money back as soon as possible, so they’re forcing the issue. That’s why you’ll see a change coming to Pandora one way or another very soon. It probably won’t go away as a company, but you can bet that by the end of the year it will be a far different service than it is right now.

Pandora’s Largest Investor Worried About Its Future

pandora-internet-radiopandora-internet-radioPandora’s largest investor is so concerned about its future that it sent a letter to the company’s CEO and board members asking them to reconsider its strategy and explore the possibility of a sale. According to a report in Music Business WorldwideCorvex Management LP, the investor that sent the letter, owns  8.3% of Pandora and is fed up with seeing the company’s share price slide.

Among the concerns expressed in the letter include:

  • Pandora is “pursuing a costly and uncertain business plan, without a thorough evaluation of all shareholder value-maximizing alternatives.”
  • Questionable capital allocation decisions” which may refer to the $450m purchase for Ticketfly last year.
  • The fact that senior management has sold off most of its stock, which certainly doesn’t give an investor confidence in the company’s future.
  • The fact that the company replaced former CEO Brian McAndrews with founder Tim Westergren, a move panned by many in the industry
  • Concern over Pandora’s direct deals with rights-holders, which were very costly.
  • and finally, Pandora’s poor stock price, which seems to have little hope of increasing.

Pandora is reportedly gearing up to transition to an on-demand service like Spotify, since in its current non-interactive state the company is not able to expand to other territories. It’s now available only in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, but other countries have blocked entry because of local rights issues which have proved too costly for the company to overcome. Turning into an on-demand streaming service would allow Pandora to expand, since most of the required record label licenses would be world-wide and wouldn’t depend upon local broadcast regulations.

Pandora labels itself as “Internet Radio,” a term which, while accurate, is very limiting. In September of 2015 the company purchased many of the assets of the Rdio music streaming service out of bankruptcy, providing it with much of the infrastructure for the change in the platform. The licenses from the major labels (the difficult part) were not included, however.

The call for a sale by its largest investor may cause others to jump on board, which could mean a fire-sale for the company, and one more income source for artists will die.