Satellite radio giant SiriusXM said Monday that it is buying podcasting platform Stitcher from broadcaster E.W. Scripps for $325 million.
Sirius had been in talks for weeks to acquire the platform, which owns a handful of podcast networks that produce shows like “Freakonomics Radio,” “My Favorite Murder” and “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.”
The deal positions Sirius to run in the podcasting big leagues, alongside Apple Music, iHeart Media and Spotify, which leads the podcast race thanks to a slew of recent acquisitions, including Bill Simmons’ The Ringer, Gimlet Media and hit show “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
“With this acquisition, SiriusXM’s combined properties will contain the largest addressable audience in the US across all categories of digital audio — reaching over 150 million listeners,” Sirius Chief Executive Jim Meyer said in a memo to staff Monday.
Prior to the Stitcher transaction, Sirius had been slowly moving into podcasting with the 2018 acquisition of music and podcast streamer Pandora for $3.5 billion, as well as this year’s acquisition of Simplecast, a podcast hosting platform where users can manage their show distribution and content, among others.
According to reports, Stitcher has been shopped for some time by Scripps, which is facing pressure in its core local TV business. The podcasting company, which was bought by Scripps in 2016 for 4.5 million, brought in $17.1 million in operating revenue for the first quarter of the year, up 13 percent from a year earlier.
Under the terms of the deal, which is is expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, Sirius will make a cash payment of $265 million to Scripps. The agreement provides that Sirius will will potentially make up to $60 million in additional contingent payments based on Stitcher achieving certain financial metrics in 2020 and 2021.