US radio group iHeartMedia is battling to restructure its debts in order to avoid bankruptcy, and its latest potential saviour is a fascinating one: Liberty Media.
That’s the same Liberty Media that’s the majority owner of satellite-radio firm SiriusXM, which recently acquired a $480m stake in Pandora, which competes directly with iHeartMedia’s iHeartRadio service.
Billboard reports that Liberty has offered to buy 40% of iHeartMedia for $1.16bn, with half of those shares planned to be held by SiriusXM, and the other half by Liberty.
With iHeartMedia recently missing an interest payment to its creditors, there’s a very real threat of bankruptcy in the near future, so Liberty Media has picked its timing carefully.
The last time we heard from iHeartRadio in January, it had just reached the milestone of 110 million registered users, although as we noted at the time, its user growth had slowed: it took 10 months to add its last 10 million registered users, compared to seven months for the 10 million before that.