SoundCloud Owners Said to Mull $1 Billion Sale of Music Service

  • Founders and investors are weighing options, including a sale
  • German firm so far hasn’t found buyer at sufficient price

SoundCloud Ltd.’s owners are considering a sale that could value the German music streaming company at $1 billion as it looks for ways to boost growth and profit from its user base, according to people familiar with the matter.

SoundCloud’s founders and investors, including investment firm Doughty Hanson & Co., are exploring strategic options for the company that could lead to a sale, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private. While the owners have been thinking about a potential sale for some time, the deliberations are at an early stage and the company may decide against pursuing a deal, the people said.

The owners have had trouble finding a buyer willing to value the company at $1 billion so far, two of the people said. SoundCloud raised $70 million from Twitter Inc. in June, part of a $100 million funding round that priced the company at $700 million, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.

SoundCloud is working to generate reliable revenue from its approximately 175 million users, who spend time on the site to record, listen to and share songs. SoundCloud introduced a premium service in March, allowing customers to pay $10 a month for ad-free streaming and increased access to songs. It was a dramatic change to a more mainstream model, favored by larger players such as Apple Inc., and Spotify Ltd., for a company that had found its niche hosting music uploaded by DJs and musicians.

A representative for SoundCloud and a spokesman for Doughty Hanson didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

In 2014, the last year that SoundCloud publicly reported its accounts, sales rose 54 percent to 17.3 million euros ($19 million) from a year earlier. The operating loss at the time was 39 million euros, widening from 21.3 million euros in 2013.

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