Jay Z bid to buy Spotify rival could be blocked by Swedish shareholders

Disgruntled investors have enough support to stop the rap star's attempt to buy music streaming business, according to local reports

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Jay Z’s ambitions to rival Spotify have been dealt a blow, with news that his attempt to buy Swedish streaming company Aspiro could be blocked.

Jay Z bid $56m (£37m) for Aspiro, which owns streaming service WiMP and Tidal, in January and the board recommended shareholders approve the deal. But minority shareholders holding 10 per cent of shares are set to reject the deal, according to Swedish paper Dagens Industri.

It would not be the first time a takeover of Aspiro has been blocked by disgruntled investors. The Norwegian media group Schibsted, Aspiro’s majority investor, tried to buy the company in 2012 but was blocked by investors, who organised themselves under the banner of Aspiro Shareholders Association.

Sune Karlsson, the chairman of the association, told Dagens Industri: “We will recommend our members say no to the offer. We have accumulated more than 10 per cent of the owners, which is enough to block it.”

Mr Karlsson and the association believe Jay Z’s bid, made through vehicle Project Panther Bidco, undervalues the company, despite carring a 59 per cent premium. Aspiro’s board urged minority shareholders to reconsider, with chairman Fredrik Bjørland telling website The Next Web: “We still believe the offer is attractive for both the company and its shareholders.”

Aspiro’s services, WiMP and Tidal, pitch themselves to more committed music fans than services such as Spotify, offering interviews with artists and lossless playback. WiMP had 580,000 paying members as of June last year. Project Panther hailed the business as “an innovative high-quality company with strong future growth potential” when it announced its bid. 

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