SiriusXM in talks to acquire Pandora: Sources

Key Points
  • SiriusXM is in talks to acquire Pandora.
  • The two companies, while talking, have not reached an agreement on value.
SiriusXM and Pandora still apart on price, sources say

is in talks to acquire Pandora, sources told CNBC.

People close to SiriusXM indicated that the two companies, while talking, have not reached an agreement on value. After Pandora's latest quarterly financial report, SiriusXM has some qualms that the subscription business has taken priority over the original streaming business, sources said.

CNBC first reported that Pandora was open to selling itself to SiriusXM in December, after rejecting a takeover offer last July. At that time, one person referred to the situation as being "the first inning of the process."

The talks have continued on and off since, sources said. Pandora shares rose 7 percent on Thursday morning.

SiriusXM declined to comment on the report on Thursday. Pandora was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment.

A banner for Pandora Media, the online-radio company, hangs in front of the New York Stock Exchange.
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Liberty Media is the majority owner of SiriusXM, and CEO Greg Maffei has been open about his interest in Pandora.

"Pandora actually under-monetizes on its listening hours ... it has a superior product to many of the other free services," Maffei said in a Liberty Media earnings conference call on May 9.

Pandora posted mixed quarterly earnings on May 8: The streaming company posted an adjusted loss of 24 cents per share, excluding items, on revenue of $316 million. That's compared with 34 cents per share on revenue of $318 million expected by a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate.

But while Pandora Premium's March launch is already yielding results, according to founder and CEO Tim Westergren, Pandora's active listeners were 76.7 million at the end of the first quarter of 2017, down from 79.4 million a year ago.

KKR — an investment firm known for its private equity and hedge funds — plans to invest $150 million in Pandora in exchange for new shares of preferred stock. But sources familiar with the company's thinking have previously told CNBC that Pandora is confident it can come to an agreement to sell itself before the KKR investment closes.

Despite increasingly fierce competition from Amazon, Apple, Spotify and Google, Pandora remains a popular business. It's been the No. 1 grossing music app every day in Apple's App Store for the past six months with the exception of five straight days in November when Spotify took over, according to research from Apptopia.

— Reporting by CNBC's David Faber on "Squawk on the Street." Written by Anita Balakrishnan.