When a UK-based private equity firm dropped an offer to buy Audioboom in the fall, the company said it remained open to striking a deal with All Active Asset Capital — or someone else. This created an opening for Amazon and Spotify, which the UK broadcaster Sky News reports have sought to bid for the podcast platform.
No offers have been submitted to Audioboom so far, and it’s still possible that neither company will ultimately make an offer. But Sky News says Amazon is serious enough about the potential that it has hired investment bankers from JP Morgan Chase to help with the process.
Audioboom did not comment on the report. But CEO Stuart Last said during the quarterly webinar for investors last month that he “absolutely” sees a role for Audioboom in securing potential deals. “Audioboom is the leading independent podcast company. Nobody else has the scales, structures and volume that we have,” he said. “We’re the only company of this size and independence that’s actually making money from podcasting right now, so we have to be attractive. We must be a great option for someone looking to establish a presence in podcasting.
It’s unclear what kind of price Audioboom might achieve, but its current market capitalization is around $375 million. News of a potential takeover sent Audioboom’s share price soaring 11% on Monday to its highest price since its IPO in 2005, boosting its market capitalization by about $45 million.
The latter told investors during the webinar that he sees more potential mergers and acquisitions in podcasting in 2022. radio companies in the United States,” he said last month. “I don’t see him slowing down. I think there are potentially more mergers and acquisitions to come because there are potentially more huge organizations that are focused on the quality of podcasting for them and the benefits of podcasting for their businesses.
Ad tech is probably what piqued the interest of Amazon and Spotify. Audioboom has developed a tool called AdRip. Launched last July, it allows embedded ads in the company’s back catalog to be removed and resold after 90 days and to insert new ads. And in November he made his Showcase debut, the company’s global programmatic audio advertising market. It makes 250 million audio ad impressions available every month.
Reports of a potential sale have swirled around Audioboom over the past few years as its business has grown alongside interest in podcasting. Last year’s potential sale to All Active Asset Capital arrested in september after Audioboom denied its request for more time, as well as the proposed terms of the potential buyout which include All Active shares.
“We always like what they’re planning – and of course they can come back to us at any time, privately, if they’re still interested in pursuing that route,” Last said at the time.
It was the second time in the past two years that Audioboom had considered a potential sale. In 2020, he conducted an eight-month strategic review but the board ultimately decided not to sell after receiving offers that they felt undervalued the business.
Revenue more than doubled last year at Audioboom, which reported that in 2021 it made the first profit since the podcast platform launched 11 years earlier. Audioboom announced that it had revenue of $60.2 million last year, an increase of 125% over 2020. Business accelerated during the fourth quarter and this tailwind has helped go from a loss of $3.3 million in 2020 to a net profit of $1.4 million last year.
Audioboom says that by the end of the year it had 116 million monthly downloads and more than 32 million unique listeners according to Triton Digital.
The company also said it saw “significant” price growth for premium inventory in 2022. In January, it told investors that the first-quarter average unit rate for the top 25 podcasts is 26% higher than in the fourth quarter although the start of the year is one of the sweetest parts of the annual advertising calendar.
“The growth story isn’t over yet,” Last said during the quarterly webinar for investors. “We’re just in a really good place as a company.”