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Sirius said to approach Pandora’s board with takeover interest

By Alex Sherman and Lucas Shaw Bloomberg

Sirius XM Holdings Chairman Greg Maffei recently approached Pandora Media’s board to express renewed interest in a takeover of the internet radio provider, according to people familiar with the matter, following up on its offer from earlier this year.

Sirius’s latest approach didn’t include a price for Pandora, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private. Sirius offered about $15 per share to acquire Pandora earlier this year, the person said.

Pandora hasn’t yet responded to the Sirius approach, the person said. Still, Pandora’s advisers have begun reaching out to other potential suitors, another person said.

Pandora shares rose earlier Friday after a CNBC report that the company is willing to engage with Sirius. Pandora hasn’t decided if it will restart talks with Sirius, one of the people said.

A representative for Pandora declined to comment. A Sirius spokesman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Since Sirius made its first approach, Pandora has taken steps to shake up its business model as it seeks to placate activist investor Corvex Management LP.

The company hired Centerview Partners to advise on strategic options, people familiar with the matter said in July. Centerview’s role could be expanded to run a sale process with Morgan Stanley for Pandora, the people said at the time.

Though Pandora dominates the online radio market it pioneered, the company’s growth has slowed in recent years, at the same time as on-demand services Spotify Ltd. and Apple Music have added millions of users.

Co-founder Tim Westergren, who returned as Pandora’s chief executive officer in March, is trying to almost quadruple sales to $4 billion by 2020 by going into new businesses, such as ticket sales and concert promotion, while converting free users into paying customers.

The company made three acquisitions last year to diversify beyond online radio, including ticket seller Ticketfly, and is about to introduce a new on-demand service similar to Spotify.

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