Apple would consider investing in iHeartRadio
iHeartMedia, the largest radio company in the United States, is considering investments with several companies, including Apple, before filing a reorganization plan with the bankruptcy court, the FinancialTimes reports. The company is $20 billion in debt and filed for bankruptcy protection in March.
Sources say FinancialTimes that Apple is one of many investors that have been considered, and iHeartMedia is seeking an equity stake worth tens of millions of dollars. Another source suggested the deal could look like a marketing partnership rather than a direct cash injection into the business.
If a deal were to materialize between Apple and iHeartRadio, FinancialTimes notes that this could provide additional distribution to Apple Music’s Beats 1, causing it to stream radio. Currently, Beats 1 is only available through the Apple Music and iTunes apps. The report also says industry executives believe that Apple Music’s flagship shows on Beats 1, led by DJs like Zane Lowe, haven’t expanded the service’s user base in the significant way that it did. Apple was waiting.
Apple has already acquired a few music-based companies, including Shazam song id app, and his purchase of Beats, which laid the foundation for Apple Music. But investments in outside companies are rarer for Apple; the company recently took stakes in the Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing and in Toshiba’s microchip business. But even with its debt and bankruptcy filing, iHeartRadio dominates the radio industry with over 850 stations and has considerable power with exposure for acts on marquee events like the iHeartRadio Music Awards.
Apple declined to comment.