Report: Spotify Is In Talks To Buy Bill Simmons’ The Ringer

Music streaming service Spotify is apparently working on a deal to acquire sports and pop culture website The Ringer. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the Bill Simmons-led website and its video and podcast properties are on the market, with the streaming giant apparently in talks to make an acquisition.

Spotify Technology SA is in talks to buy sports and pop-culture outlet the Ringer, according to people familiar with the matter, a deal that would let the audiostreaming giant break into broader digital media and bring a network of more than 30 podcasts under its roof.

Discussions are early, these people cautioned, and may not result in a deal.

The Hollywood Reporter later confirmed the Journal’s initial report, noting that it would be the latest in a string of buys from Spotify to diversify the company’s portfolio.

Acquiring the 30 or more podcasts would be big for the audio giant, but The Ringer’s website, consisting of sports and pop culture analysis and reporting, is a major aspect of the company that’s very different from what Spotify is currently known for. Formed in 2016 after founder Bill Simmons left ESPN, The Ringer rose from what remained of Grantland, the ESPN offshoot that Simmons manned until his contract expired. Simmons signed a deal with HBO to produce documentaries and have some Ringer content on the network, and the site has grown in years since to cover sports, big pop culture touchstones like Game of Thrones, and more.

As The Wall Street Journal noted, Spotify spent more than $400 million to purchase three podcast companies and finish other exclusive and original content deals, but as of right now it’s unclear what a deal for The Ringer would look like, or if it even will happen at all.

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