Rap star Jay Z on Friday stepped off the stage and into the online music streaming market after the board of Sweden's Aspiro AB, which runs the WiMP and Tidal services, recommended the rapper's 464 million Swedish kronor ($56 million) takeover proposal to investors.
Jay Z, via his S. Carter Enterprises LLC vehicle, would pay SKr1.05 per Aspiro share, a 59% premium to the stock's Thursday close, in a public tender set to launch Feb. 19.
Streaming Media AS, a holding company that owns 75.9% of Aspiro, said it would tender its stock into the offer. Streaming is a joint venture of Oslo media company Schibsted ASA, Norwegian music distributor Platekompaniet AS and Verdane Capital Advisers.
"Aspiro needs substantial expansion capital and a strong and dedicated owner to be able to grow and compete on the global music streaming market," said Schibsten CFO Trond Berger in a statement. He added that Jay Z, who's real name is Shawn Carter, "has adequate financial resources and a high level of competence in the music industry."
Aspiro's WiMP and Tidal are hoping to set themselves apart from rival streaming services such as Spotify Ltd., Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) Beats Music and Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Play Music by offering higher-quality playback. The company last year raised SKr60 million through a rights issue to expand in the U.S. and U.K. and last fall tapped Mooreland Partners LP to begin looking for potential suitors to finance further expansion.
It said Project Panther Bidco Ltd., the Jay Z vehicle formally making the offer, approached it on Dec. 3 about a potential offer. Investors holding 90% of Aspiro shares must tender their stock into the offer for it to succeed.
"Panther believes that the recent developments in the entertainment industry, with the migration to music and media streaming, offers great potential for increased entertainment consumption and an opportunity for artists to further promote their music," Panther said.
In the third quarter, Aspiro sales slipped to Skr76.8 million from Skr77.9 million in the same period a year earlier, widening its loss to Skr16.1 million from Skr11.9 million. The company had 512,000 paying customers at the end of the third quarter, including 20,000 for its high-quality WiMP HiFi service.
Jay Z is married to Beyonce and has sold more than 100 million records. Last year, Forbes estimated his worth at $520 million. The rapper also owns the Rocawear clothing label and the upscale 40/40 Club sports bar in Manhattan.
The Mooreland team was led by Peter Globokar. In addition, Aspiro turned to Vinge KB for legal advice with a fairness opinion provided by ABG Sundal Collier.
SEB acted as financial adviser to Panther with Roschier Advokatbyrå, Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS, Cummings & Lockwood LLC and Pryor Cashman LLP handling legal details.Read more from: