Business News Digital Media

Apple a possible partner or investor for flagging radio firm iHeart

By | Published on Friday 2 November 2018


Apple is among the potential investors being courted by flagging American media firm iHeart, according to sources who have spoken to the Financial Times. Because when you’re sitting on as much cash as Apple, you need to find something to waste it on from time to time.

iHeart Media filed for chapter eleven bankruptcy protection back in March. The move was a long time coming. The broadcaster has been battling a massive debt load for some time, much of which stemmed from a so called ‘leveraged buyout’ of the company by its current owners back in 2008.

Various new backers and partners have been approached as iHeart and its creditors sort out a reorganisation plan that is due to be filed with the bankruptcy courts later this month. Apple is reportedly interested in a possible alliance to further promote its music services Stateside.

That alliance might involve a minority investment – even though that’s not something Apple usually likes to do – or could take the form of multi-million dollar marketing partnership. Either way, the deal would likely result in Apple’s own radio station – the Apple Music promoting Beats One – being syndicated by iHeart, the biggest radio broadcaster in the US, greatly increasing its reach.

Doing so would provide new opportunities to promote Apple Music to a wider audience and also strengthen the marketing value the tech firm can deliver to artists and labels.

iHeart, of course, is also in the streaming music game, mainly with its free-to-access iHeartRadio personalised radio platform, though it also offers on-demand streaming for paying subscribers. Quite how the two firm’s respective streaming products would interact under any partnership isn’t clear, though sources say talks are still at a preliminary stage, so chances are they aren’t that sure either as yet.