×

SoundCloud Nearing Lifeline Deal With Private Equity Firms (Report)

SoundCloud is nearing a deal to sell stakes in the company to two private equity firms, Bloomberg reported Saturday, citing unidentified sources familiar with the matter. According to the report, the investment will help keep the lights on at the cash-strapped streaming service for “the foreseeable future.”

The two firms, which would be acquiring stakes separately, were not identified. Combined, the two private equity firms would own a majority of SoundCloud, the sources said, noting that the deals are “at an advanced stage” but could still unravel.

Reps for SoundCloud did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment or confirmation.

Shortly after the company laid off 40 percent of its staff and closed two offices early in July, a report in TechCrunch claimed that the company, which the founders warned early in the year may not have enough money to see it through the end of 2017, may not have enough cash to see it through the end of the summer.

SoundCloud responded with a statement in which it said in part: “There are a number of inaccuracies within the TechCrunch article. They seem to stem from a misinterpretation of information by one or two laid off employees during a recent all hands meeting … To clarify, SoundCloud is fully funded into the fourth quarter.”

Last week, Chance the Rapper issued a pair of tweets publicly supporting the company that initially seemed to indicate he would be providing some kind of financial sustenance, but a SoundCloud rep emphasized to Variety that his contribution was purely moral support. Hours later, a blog post from co-founder Alexander Ljung claimed the company was “safe.”

“Hey everyone, There’s an insane amount of noise about SoundCloud in the world right now,” the blog post reads in part. “And it’s just that, noise. The music you love on SoundCloud isn’t going away, the music you shared or uploaded isn’t going away, because SoundCloud is not going away. Not in 50 days, not in 80 days or anytime in the foreseeable future. Your music is safe … SoundCloud is here to stay.”

Founded in 2008 by Ljung and partner Eric Wahlforss, the platform was originally established as a site for DJs to upload their mixes and quickly became a favorite destination for all kinds of musicians, as well as labels seeking a fast and easy way to circulate music quickly. Yet licensing and royalty challenges forced the company to become a more traditional streaming service and it has struggled in its efforts to encourage users to opt for its paid premium model — a crowded field that even Apple Music has found daunting.

And while in March the company confirmed the latest in a series of financial infusions, $70 million in debt funding from Ares Capital, Kreos Capital, and Davidson Technology, it incurred a 51 million Euro loss in 2015 on revenue of 21.1 million Euros. In January, Ljung expressed concern that “risks and uncertainties may cause the company to run out of cash … and would require [SoundCloud] to raise additional funds which are not currently planned” — concerns that were partially, although certainly not completely, allayed by the March debt-funding infusion. The company has also been hobbled by a long series of executive departures.

The new funding arrived after earlier reports that SoundCloud was considering a fire-sale exit because it hadn’t been able to raise the necessary money to continue its operations. It acknowledged the need for new capital, but denied that it was getting ready to sell for pennies on the dollar. “We are actively speaking with a variety of potential investors and other strategic partners,” SoundCloud told Variety at the time.

SoundCloud had raised $70 million from Twitter in June 2016, after raising $35 million more of debt financing in January 2016.

 

 

More Digital

  • apple AR patent application

    Apple Patents Gesture, Expression Tracking for Mixed Reality Headset

    Apple’s upcoming mixed reality headset could include a number of sensors to track the eyes, gestures and even facial expressions of its users. The company applied for a patent to track these kinds of inputs, and combine them with information gathered from outward-facing sensors for mixed reality experiences. The patent application in question, simply titled [...]

  • Natalie Portman Thor Comic Con

    Comic-Con: Marvel 'Shock and Awe' Strategy Dominates Twitter Buzz

    Disney’s Marvel Studios handily won the hype trophy from this year’s Comic-Con International San Diego. Marvel Studios — which returned to the 2019 Comic-Con stage with a chock-full Phase 4 slate of announcements — dominated the discussion on Twitter out of the convention, capturing the biggest volume of buzz for nine of the top 10 [...]

  • Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t

    Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t Be ‘Second-Class’

    DURBAN–A young boy from a middle-class home gets an unconventional schooling in the ways of the world when he’s forced to apprentice at a mechanic’s workshop in a rough-and-tumble section of Lagos. “Mokalik” is the latest feature from Kunle Afolayan, a leading figure in the wave of filmmakers revitalizing the Nigerian film industry. The film [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Ends Long Strike Against Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

    SAG-AFTRA has ended its 10-month strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new commercials contract. The union instructed its 160,000 members in September not to accept any work for BBH, which had been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly [...]

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content