Audioboom’s largest shareholder drops its shares. | Daily News Podcast

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After Audioboom this week warned of a slowdown in the advertising market, its stock price fell 27%. The sale, while certainly unwelcome by management, is not so unexpected. But what is surprising is who has been the biggest seller: the biggest shareholder in the company. Aaquaverse – the Singaporean investment firm run by Robert Bonnier – sold 908,250 shares on Tuesday. It followed the sale of 157,500 Audioboom shares between June 22 and July 15.

A regulatory filing shows Aaquaverse now owns 11.57% of Audioboom shares. That’s down from its 18.12% share before the selling spree began. The dossier offers no insight into what led to Aquaverse’s move, but it does represent a reversal from just a few months ago. In early June, he increased his holdings to 17.3% as part of a months-long buying spree.

The change means Nick Candy, the billionaire property developer, of which Candy Ventures had been Audioboom’s largest shareholder until Aquaverse began gobbling up shares earlier this year, is returning to that status. Candy has a 14.8% stake in the company, followed by the 5.56% stake of Herald Investment Management and Audioboom Chairman Michael Tobin with 4.3%.

Audioboom delivered a mixed record this week. He said first-half revenue was up 79% year over year, but also said he was seeing a “slowdown” in the advertising market in the third quarter.

“We expect the advertising market to be further challenged by the economic downturn and we see a slowdown in advertiser demand for the third quarter as lower consumer spending impacts the brand confidence in the space,” CEO Stuart Last said. “However, it is too early to say whether this will continue into the fourth quarter. He said Audioboom signed more than $68 million in ad bookings for 2022, a 13% improvement from a year ago.

Aaquaverse may also have been looking to make a quick buck after reports surfaced in February that Amazon and Spotify were considering making offers to buy Audioboom. No offers have materialized so far, but Audioboom reportedly believed they were serious enough to hire investment bankers at JP Morgan Chase to help with the process. If the ad market softens, Aaquaverse may simply have decided it’s too risky to wait to see if a deal is made.

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