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HOW SWEDE IT IS: SPOTIFY’S
ESCALATING VALUE

Spotify will soon be worth more than $8 billion.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, the Swedish streaming service is nearing a deal to raise $400 million in a round valuing the music-streaming service at $8.4 billion. The deal would place Spotify in the upper ranks of the world’s most highly valued private tech companies.

Goldman Sachs and an Abu Dhabi sovereign-wealth fund have agreed to invest in the round, and Spotify has held talks with a range of asset managers and VC firms around the globe, the WSJ’s sources said. Initially, Spotify had hired Goldman to raise the new funding.

The funding round is expected to close in the coming weeks. Spotify, which previously raised $500m+ in equity funding, hasn’t revealed a timeline for its expected IPO.

The Daniel Ek-led company, which has been losing money since its launch in 2006, needs the cash to support its costly business model of paying nearly 70% of its revenue in royalties to rights holders.

Spotify now has more than 15m paid users worldwide—about a quarter of its overall user base—and is projecting 25m by year’s end. If the service could eventually get its paid tier to 75m, it would then be a robust, sustainable business for all concerned.

UMG, Sony Music and Warner Music, who collectively hold a less than 15% stake in Spotify but are also its most indispensable content providers, continue to pressure the company to convert more of its users into premium customers, as we’ve been saying ad infinitum.

At more than $8 billion, investors are valuing Spotify more than twice as much as Pandora, which has a current market capitalization of about $3.5 billion. Both companies operate at a loss.

Spotify had an estimated 2014 revenue of $1.3 billion, meaning the company is being valued at about 6.5 times its revenue. That’s higher than Pandora, which is trading at about 3.9 times its 2014 revenue of $921m.

Spotify is also valued at roughly the same amount--$8.5 billion—that Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank offered to pay Vivendi to acquire UMG in 2013. More on SoftBank, Spotify and premium streaming in I.B. Bad’s latest column

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