Spotify and Tencent’s music subsidiary are in talks to swap stock with each other ahead of going public next year, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. The paper reported Friday that the two companies are considering trading stakes of up to 10% with each other.
A Spotify spokesperson declined to comment.
Tencent will pay for its stake in stock and cash to make up for the difference between Spotify’s and Tencent Music’s valuation. The Journal reported Friday that Tencent Music was valued at around $6 billion last year, and could be valued as much as $10 billion now. Spotify was valued $9.5 billion in 2015, and could be valued as much as $20 billion by the time it goes public.
This mean that the stock swap could come with a significant cash bonus for Spotify. It would also open a door to China, a market that has traditionally been hard to crack for western media services. Spotify is currently not operating in China, and has yet to raise significant capital from Chinese investors.
Tencent’s music subsidiary is operating multiple music streaming services in China, which altogether have 700 million monthly active users. However, only a small fraction of those users is said to pay for music streaming, and the Journal reported Friday that Tencent’s licenses with the western majors have proven to be expensive. Teaming up with Spotify could potentially help the company to get better deals, as well as improve its conversion rates.
Spotify is expected to go public in early 2018, with reports pointing to plans to a direct listing as opposed to a traditional IPO. This would make it easier for the company to go public, but also come without any new capital — which is why a capital injection from Tencent may be so crucial. Tencent Music is looking to go public near the end of Q2 2018, according to the Journal.