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Apple, Sony both held talks about buying podcaster Wondery

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Apple Inc. and Sony Music Entertainment have each held talks about potentially acquiring Wondery, the producer of “Dirty John” and “Dr. Death,” according to people familiar with the matter, setting the stage for the biggest deal yet in the booming podcasting market.

Wondery is seeking US$300 million to US$400 million in a possible sale, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are ongoing.

Apple and Sony are two of at least four companies that have discussed a deal with Wondery, according to one of the people. Though Spotify Technology SA has been the most aggressive buyer of podcasting companies over the last two years, the Swedish audio giant has pulled out of the running, said two people with knowledge of the talks. A deal is expected in coming months, but there’s no guarantee that the discussions won’t fall apart.

Wondery is one of the largest independent podcasting studios and networks, reaching a monthly audience of more than 8 million people, according to Podtrac, an industry measurement firm. A price tag north of US$300 million would surpass what Spotify paid for the Ringer and Gimlet Media, as well as what IHeartMedia paid for Stitcher.

It’s possible that the price tag could scare off some would-be bidders, especially since the podcasting industry is still fairly small. But Wondery has a pipeline of podcasts that could be turned into television series and other content. It’s already developing more than a dozen TV shows based on its podcasts, including a program for Apple about the rise and fall of WeWork.

Reported by Benzinga

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