Apple and Sony lock horns over $300 million acquisition of Wondery, a popular podcasts app

A recent report by Bloomberg claims that Apple is now in a bidding race with Sony Music Entertainment to acquire a podcast app, Wondery. The Cupertino tech giant offers a wide range of services, like Apple News, Music, TV+, and more. Therefore, an app with podcasts on a variety of genres would be beneficial for its music and video streaming services.

Wondery is an indie podcast producer and network which launched a standalone iOS and Andriod app in June 2020. It offers free podcasts with ads and ad-free listening for a monthly or annual subscription fee depending on the plan.

In Apple’s Q4 2020 earnings call, the company recorded all-time high record sales of service and Mac. The tech giant’s services division is growing yearly as the company adds new content and advanced technology to optimize subscribers’ experience and compete against established names in the industry like Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, and others.

Apple in Talks to Acquire Wondery App for $300 million

People familiar with the deal told the publisher that both Apple and Sony have held talks with podcast network’s CEO, Hernan Lopez for the acquisition of Wondery. The audio content’s producer is looking to settle for $300 to $400 million and if the deal goes through it would be this year’s biggest for the podcast market. Recently, Apple bought Scout FM for radio like podcasts and Apple Music’s Zane Lowe started new interview podcasts in the streaming service.

Currently, the podcasting industry is an emerging market with more people tuning in to listen and enjoy episodes of their favorite show, interviews, or documentaries while traveling, exercising, walking, or driving instead of gluing their eyes on the screens. And Spotify is leading the race, this year in February it acquired The Ringer and in September it added Joe Rogan to its list. However, Spotify did not participate in Wondery’s bidding according to the people familiar with the matter. It is reported that,

Apple and Sony are two of at least four companies that have discussed a deal with Wondery, according to one of the people. Though Spotify Technology SA has been the most aggressive buyer of podcasting companies over the last two years, the Swedish audio giant decided not to bid, said two people with knowledge of the talks. A deal is expected in coming months, but there’s no guarantee that the discussions won’t fall apart.

Apple and Sony are presumably interested in Wondery for the potential of producing its drama, documentaries, and other podcasts into shows for video streaming services like Apple TV.

“It’s possible that the price tag could scare off some would-be bidders, especially since the podcasting industry is still fairly small. But Wondery has a pipeline of podcasts that could be turned into television series and other content. It’s already developing more than a dozen TV shows based on its podcasts, including a program for Apple about the rise and fall of WeWork.”

Wondery app can be downloaded for free on iOS and Andriod devices via App Store and Google Play, respectively. Its free service includes ads and ad-free service is available for $4.99 per month or a $34.99 annual subscription fee.

About the Author

Snapchatter and Apple fangirl, covers everything about social media, app reviews and Apple news.