Spotify to Buy The Ringer, Misses Fourth-Quarter Estimates

Spotify Technology, the music- and video-streaming service, says it's buying The Ringer, a sports and pop-culture platform. Spotify also reported fourth-quarter earnings that missed Wall Street's estimates.
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Spotify Technology (SPOT) - Get Report, the music- and video-streaming subscription service, said it was buying The Ringer, a sports, entertainment and pop culture platform.

The Stockholm company also reported disappointing fourth-quarter results.

Shares of Spotify at last check were 4.3% lower. They closed the regular session Tuesday up 5.3% at $154.31.

Spotify said it had definitively agreed to acquire The Ringer, which was founded by the sportswriter, analyst and author Bill Simmons in 2016. Terms weren't disclosed.

"The Ringer will bring to Spotify its industry-leading sports and entertainment team, podcast catalog and website," expanding Spotify’s offerings and audience reach, the company said in a statement.

The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter.

Separately, Spotify, which reports its results in euros, posted a loss of about $230 million, or $1.26 a share, on sales of $2.05 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a 17-cent loss on revenue of $2.09 billion.

"In previous quarters, we’ve spoken about continued innovation in the product experience," the company said. 

"Some of these improvements yield, while others can take quarters to materialize into tangible benefits. With that in mind, in the last few quarters we have seen steady improvements in retention, in some cases significantly."

The company ended the year with 124 million premium subscribers, up 29% from the year earlier. Analysts were expecting 122 million paid subscribers. North America saw the fastest quarterly growth since fourth-quarter 2018.

Looking ahead, Spotify said it expected total premium subscribers to range 126 million to 131 million for the first quarter, compared with analysts' estimate of 128 million.

For full-year 2020, the company sees total premium subscribers ranging 143 million to 153 million.