Amazon has announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Wondery, a four-year-old podcast producer.
Terms of the deal, under which Team Wondery will join the Amazon Music group, were not disclosed. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon was in talks to buy Wondery in a deal worth more than $ 300 million.
“We are delighted to announce that Wondery – an innovative podcast publisher with a background in creating and producing top-notch podcasts – has signed an agreement to join Amazon Music,” the e-commerce giant said, announcing the ‘deal Wednesday. “With Amazon Music, Wondery will be able to deliver even more high quality, innovative content and continue its mission to bring a world of entertainment and knowledge to its audience, wherever they listen.”
The deal has yet to be concluded, pending customary closing conditions. According to Amazon, “When the deal goes through, nothing will change for listeners, and they will continue to be able to access Wondery podcasts through a variety of providers. “
Last June, Wondery Founder and CEO Hernan Lopez said Variety that the company had around 20 million unique listeners per month.
Following Amazon’s deal for Wondery, Lopez will step down as CEO to focus on his recently announced Hernan Lopez Family Foundation and Wondery COO Jen Sargent will take over day-to-day operations, according to Amazon.
The acquisition of Wondery is part of Amazon’s strategy to monetize the podcast gold rush and keep pace with Spotify’s podcasting push. In September, Amazon Music launched several million free podcast episodes and announced a list of original podcasts produced exclusively for Amazon Music, including shows by DJ Khaled, Becky G, Will Smith, and Dan Patrick. Additionally, Amazon-owned Audible recently added around 100,000 podcast shows, comprising 5 million episodes.
“This is a pivotal time to expand Amazon Music’s offering beyond music as listeners’ habits evolve,” Amazon said in announcing the Wondery Pact. “Wondery is already thrilling listeners with its collection of immersive podcasts, and the company is evolving this entertainment medium into a truly new and exciting experience.”
Original Wondery Shows include “Dr. Death”, “Bad Batch”, “The Shrink Next Door”, “Business Wars”, “Joe Exotic: Tiger King”, “American History Tellers”, “Tides of History”, ” The Daily Smile ”and“ Imagined Life. ”
Wondery had raised around $ 15 million to date. The company’s investors include Lerer Hippeau, Greycroft, BDMI, Advancit Capital, Water Tower Ventures, Powerhouse Ventures and Waverley Capital, the venture capital firm formed by Edgar Bronfman Jr. and Daniel Leff of Luminari Capital.
Lopez, former Fox International Channels CEO of 21st Century Fox, founded Los Angeles-based Wondery in 2016 with a mission to produce high-quality scripted and unscripted entertainment podcasts. Last April, federal prosecutors charged Lopez with bribing South American football officials while he was at Fox, allegedly in exchange for broadcast rights as well as confidential auction information for broadcast rights. Americans from the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. Lopez has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
A key source of income for Wondery has been the adaptation of its most popular original podcasts for television. For example, Universal Content Productions is developing a “Joe Exotic” show based on the Wondery podcast with Kate McKinnon set to star and executive produce. UCP is also producing a serial adaptation of “Dr. Death” for Peacock from NBCUniversal, starring Joshua Jackson, Christian Slater and Alec Baldwin.
In the deal with Amazon, Wondery was advised by investment bank LionTree, which also advised SiriusXM’s acquisition of the podcast network and producer Stitcher and the New York Times deal for Serial Productions, the company at the origin of the hit “Serial” of 2014.