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Spotify Acquires Bill Simmons’ The Ringer

Audio streaming service to expand its sports vertical

Spotify announced Wednesday that it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Bill Simmons’ three-year-old sports and pop culture site, The Ringer.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to close this quarter, were not disclosed.

Spotify, the leading audio streaming subscription service, hopes to build on its content offerings with The Ringer’s array of 30 podcasts in the sports and pop culture space, including “The Bill Simmons Podcast,” “The Rewatchables” and “The Ryen Russillo Podcast.”

“We look forward to putting the full power of Spotify behind The Ringer as they drive our global sports strategy,” Spotify Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff said in a statement. “As we set out to expand our sports and entertainment offerings, we wanted a best-in-class editorial team. Bill Simmons is one of the brightest minds in the game and he has successfully innovated as a writer and content creator across mediums and platforms. The Ringer’s proven track record of creating distinctive cultural content as well as discovering and developing top tier talent will make them a formidable asset for Spotify.”

Simmons, a former ESPN star who launched the Grantland website before setting on his own with The Ringer in 2016, said, “Spotify has the unique ability to truly supercharge both content and creator talent across genres. We spent the last few years building a world-class sports and pop culture multimedia digital company and believe Spotify can take us to another level. We couldn’t be more excited to unlock Spotify’s power of scale and discovery, introduce The Ringer to a new global audience and build the world’s flagship sports audio network.”

Also on Wednesday, Spotify reported its Q4 revenue had grown 24%, to $2.04 billion (€1.855 billion). The streamer reported that it had 271 million monthly active users worldwide by the end of 2019, up 31%, and 124 million premium monthly subscribers.