Pandora and Sirius XM also had informal talks about a possible combination in December, CNBC reported at the time.
John Malone's Sirius XM Holdings ( SIRI) has begun talks with Pandora Media ( P) about a deal to acquire the internet radio provider, both CNBC and the New York Post reported on Thursday.
Citing people close to Sirius XM, CNBC said that while the two companies have begun talks, no agreement has been reached. A Pandora representative declined to comment on the reports, while Sirius XM didn't immediately return requests for comment.
Pandora shares on Thursday afternoon were up 4.1% to $9.30. Sirius XM shares moved 2.6% higher to $4.86.
The report comes less than two weeks after Pandora agreed to reorganize its board of directors and created a committee to formally engage with prospective buyers.
As part of that reorganization, which has yet to close, Pandora, the world's largest internet radio operator, will receive $150 million in new financing from private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts ( KKR) . Pandora, which has reported losing money in each of the past nine quarters, will add Richard Sarnoff, a KKR managing director, to its board. Sarnoff was an executive at Bertelsmann when the German media company attempted to purchase Napster in 2002. Pandora hired Centerview Partners and Morgan Stanley last year to advise the company.
Yet Greg Maffei, Sirius' chairman and CEO of Malone's Liberty Media Formula One ( LMCA) , which controls the satellite radio company, has chided Pandora for entering the on-demand market. After years of preparation, including Pandora's 2015 acquisition of Rdio's intellectual property for $75 million, Maffei argued that competing directly with Apple ( AAPL) Music, Amazon's ( AMZN) Music Unlimited, Alphabet's ( GOOGL) YouTube and the market leader, Spotify, was a fool's errand.
Despite building a formidable audience, Pandora has been losing listeners to its free ad-supported curated-radio service. Pandora's active listeners fell to 76.7 million at the end of March from 79.4 million for the same period a year ago. Total listening hours dropped as well, slipping to 5.21 billion from 5.52 billion during the first quarter of 2016. Fewer listeners has meant slowing growth in ad sales, which accounted for 71% of revenue in the first quarter. Advertising revenue rose just 1% in the quarter to $223.3 million.
Meanwhile, Spotify has more than 50 million on-demand subscribers paying $9.99 per month, the same price Pandora is charging for its Premium service, which completed its rollout last month. Apple Music said it had more than 20 million subs as of the end of 2016. Pandora has attracted about 500,000 trial subscriptions for the $10 per month service since March.
CEO Tim Westergren, who returned as the company's top executive in February 2016, has resisted overtures to sell the company. Yet as Pandora's growth has slowed, and its much larger rivals have expanded their businesses, Westergren is said to be more open to a sale.
In February, Maffei did say that Sirius might consider buying Pandora if shares fell to $10. The stock is down 28.7% this year.