The music streaming service confirmed that it has entered a “definitive agreement” to buy the company, although terms of the transactions were not disclosed. It is the fourth podcast acquisition the company has done in the past year.
News of the deal came at the same time the company was reporting fourth-quarter earnings. Despite a steep rise in users, soft revenue figures dragged down the stock in early trading in New York.
The Ringer operates a slew of successful podcasts including Simmons’ own eponymous shows, which gets A-list guests from the world of sports, TV and movies, The Watch and Binge Mode. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2020.
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The Ringer was founded in 2016 after Simmons’ previous ESPN-backed site Grantland was closed down by the Disney-owned sports brand. HBO, where Simmons hosted talkshow Any Given Wednesday and recently struck a deal to produce six 30 for 30-style music documentaries, was an initial investor in The Ringer.
The company’s Ringer Films division produces both long- and short-form, non-fiction programming with credits including HBO’s critically acclaimed Andre the Giant and the upcoming Women of Troy, about the groundbreaking USC women’s basketball team of the 1980s
“We look forward to putting the full power of Spotify behind The Ringer as they drive our global sports strategy,” said Dawn Ostroff, Chief Content Officer, Spotify. “As we set out to expand our sports and entertainment offerings, we wanted a best-in-class editorial team. Bill Simmons is one of the brightest minds in the game and he has successfully innovated as a writer and content creator across mediums and platforms. The Ringer’s proven track record of creating distinctive cultural content as well as discovering and developing top tier talent will make them a formidable asset for Spotify.”
“Spotify has the unique ability to truly supercharge both content and creator talent across genres,” added Simmons. “We spent the last few years building a world-class sports and pop culture multimedia digital company and believe Spotify can take us to another level. We couldn’t be more excited to unlock Spotify’s power of scale and discovery, introduce The Ringer to a new global audience and build the world’s flagship sports audio network. We’re joining one of the best media companies in the world. It’s an incredible day for us.”
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