Spotify in Talks to Buy Sports and Content Provider The Ringer

Spotify is in discussions to buy sports and pop-culture content service the Ringer in a move that would shore up its original content offerings.
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Streaming music and content giant Spotify Technology SA (SPOT) - Get Report is in discussions to purchase popular sports and pop-culture content service the Ringer – a move that would shift the popular streaming service towards original content offerings.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Friday that the company is in early discussions with the Ringer, an information and podcasting network founded by former ESPN commentator Bill Simmons in 2016 that attracts more than 100 million downloads a month.

The Journal noted that the talks are at any early stage and may not result in a deal.

Originally focused on providing streaming music, Spotify has more recently sought to expand its offerings by investing in podcasting and other forms of content in an effort to remain competitive with Apple’s  (APPL)  Apple Music streaming music and content service, as well as Amazon’s (AMZN) - Get Report Amazon Music and other streaming content providers.

The largest music-streaming platform by subscribers, Spotify has been particularly focused on boosting its podcasting offerings. The company last year bought three podcast companies for $400 million, and also inked deals for exclusive or original content to keep both retain subscribers and attract new ones.

Spotify and the Ringer are already working together. The companies teamed up in September to launch a new original podcast hosted by Mr. Simmons, “The Hottest Take,” which streams exclusively on Spotify, the Journal reported.

In addition to “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” the Ringer also produces “The Watch,” a discussion show about TV and pop-culture; “Binge Mode,” which dives deep into pop-culture franchises; and “The Rewatchables,” a show that breaks down popular movies.

Spotify in October posted third-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analysts' forecasts on strong subscriber growth, particularly among premium users, amid ongoing interest and popularity in podcast offerings.

The Luxembourg-based company is expected to report its fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 5. 

Shares of Spotify ended the trading day Friday down 2.31% at $148.34.