Looks like TuneIn is seriously shopping itself, or at least considering its ‘strategic options’. But is this a good buy?
Hmm. Streaming is exploding. But is it exploding into the way TuneIn had hoped?
That’s a difficult question, though TuneIn is now testing the waters on a possible sale. According to Bloomberg, TuneIn has tapped boutique investment bank LionTree Advisors LLC to ‘explore strategic alternatives,’ with ‘a possible sale’ being one of those alternatives.
TuneIn is basically a massive online radio service. Stations traverse music, news, sports, and other categories. And it’s damn big: according to the latest count, TuneIn offers a selection of more than 120,000 stations and 5 million podcasts. Its global audience exceeds 75 million.
At a top-level, this is a bunch of radio stations and audio feeds organized for the internet, with premium channels bundled into paid tiers.
All of which is reminiscent of a late-90s business model, and less evolved than streaming frontrunners like Spotify, Apple Music, Sirius XM Radio and even Pandora.
The number of premium subscribers are also modest (relatively speaking). TuneIn CEO John Donham says the company has 10 million paying subs, which sounds solid. That’s way ahead of platforms like Tidal, YouTube, and Pandora, though far behind Sirius, Spotify, and Apple Music.
Then again, this is a fairly massive platform. And Donham says the company is nearly profitable. This is a company that’s gone through several big raises over its 16-year history, though Donham also says the company doesn’t need more investors to reach profitability.
According to Crunchbase, TuneIn has raised nearly $102 million over four rounds. In August of 2017, Comcast Ventures tossed $50 million into the pot, nearly doubling the company’s cumulative financing level.
Bloomberg says the company is valued at roughly $500 million, though apparently TuneIn has “expressed a willingness to sell for less than that sum”.
Donham says there aren’t any active talks, though this ‘exploration’ looks pretty serious. “We are super early in conversations,” Donham relayed. “One option is to keep going as we’re going, and there are other options too. You don’t engage a banker if you’re not looking at them.”