Multiple outlets, citing unnamed sources, reported on Friday that Spotify is in the “advanced stages” of acquiring a leading podcast production company. The rumored deal is no slouch: $230 million to acquire Gimlet Media, the company responsible for highly trafficked podcasts such as Reply All, Science Vs., and StartUp.
Recode and The Wall Street Journal each reported a Gimlet bid from Spotify in the neighborhood of “over $200 million.” That number was later clarified by Hot Pod newsletter author Nick Quah to be closer to $230 million. All three reports point out that the deal has not been completed.
The reports include a reminder that Gimlet’s last public valuation, based on venture capital funding, hovered somewhere around $70 million in August 2017. Spotify has previously acquired smaller music- and streaming-related companies, including the music-rights data firm Loudr.fm and the virtual studio service Soundtrap. But neither acquisition’s cost has been publicly announced (nor have either of those been rumored to be anywhere near $230 million). More importantly, those acquisitions have revolved around platforms and technologies, not potentially exclusive series and content.
Gimlet’s public cache has been on the rise thanks to one particular 2018 development: the adaptation of Gimlet’s fictional, radio-drama podcast Homecoming as a TV series. This series, which received a two-season order, debuted as an Amazon Video exclusive in November of last year, is produced and directed by Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail, and stars Julia Roberts.
Such an acquisition would see Spotify beef up its exclusive podcast library, which currently consists of music-related talk shows such as Ebb and Flow and The Joe Budden Show. None of the reports confirm whether an acquisition would lock down any of Gimlet’s past or present series as Spotify exclusives.