Deezer Reportedly Prepares to Go Public As Part of SPAC Merger

Deezer Issues DMCA Takedown Notice Against Multiple Stream Rippers
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Spotify competitor Deezer is reportedly preparing to go public as part of a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) merger.

The Wall Street Journal just recently reported on Deezer’s rumored SPAC merger and corresponding arrival on the stock market, but higher-ups hadn’t publicly addressed the matter at the time of this piece’s writing. Additionally, a Deezer representative told Digital Music News that he “won’t make any comments” on the topic.

However, the Paris-headquartered streaming platform (and Access Industries subsidiary) is reportedly eyeing an agreement with a company called I2PO SA, which listed shares in July of 2021 and aims to invest “in companies with principal operations in the entertainment and leisure economy in Europe and abroad with a dedicated focus on digital,” per its Euronext profile.

I2PO’s backers include Centerview Partners’ Matthieu Pigasse (a longtime music enthusiast) and Artemis, the holding company of France’s Pinault family. 85-year-old François Pinault, who founded luxury-goods business (and Gucci owner) Kering, has a net worth of $38.9 billion, according to Forbes. (François Pinault’s son François-Henri Pinault, the husband of actress Salma Hayek, serves as Kering’s CEO and Artemis’s president.)

I2PO’s own executive team includes CEO Iris Knobloch, who signed on in July of 2021 from WarnerMedia, where she was the company’s president for several European nations.

If the rumored SPAC deal comes to fruition, Deezer – which abandoned plans for an IPO in 2015 before expressing a renewed desire to list on the stock market in 2019 – would begin trading as other music streaming services’ shares struggle.

Spotify stock (NYSE: SPOT) was trading for $136.50 per share at the time of this piece’s writing – down over 50 percent from mid-April of 2021. SPOT parted with a noteworthy portion of its value after the company forecasted 183 million subscribers for Q1 2022 – an increase of just three million from Q4 2021.

Subsequently, Spotify joined a number of other music industry companies in ceasing operations in Russia (population 144 million) altogether, and execs are poised to reveal their business’s Q1 2022 performance specifics on Wednesday, April 27th.

Meanwhile, Middle Eastern streaming giant Anghami (NASDAQ: ANGH), which itself merged with a SPAC to debut on the public market, has suffered a seven percent stock-price dip since 2022’s start, at $9.50 per share.

And Tencent Music (NYSE: TME), which has fallen into the regulatory crosshairs of the Chinese government, has seen its own stock decline in value by almost 30 percent since the beginning of 2022. (Shares are currently worth $4.90 apiece, but fell to an all-time low of $2.95 each last month.)

In addition to broader economic woes including rampant inflation – which will presumably have a greater impact on music streaming services than other digital-entertainment options, as the latter can freely raise their prices – it bears mentioning that digital’s market share decreased in the UK for the first time in 2021.

The UK’s total measured streams, at 147.2 billion (up 5.7 percent YoY), turned in their smallest YoY growth rate on record, though streaming is continuing to expand both in the United States and emerging markets. Earlier this week, Deezer rolled out real-time lyric translations, having acquired interests in multiple livestream platforms last year.