Pandora made its biggest acquisition to date -- and one of the biggest in digital music history -- by acquiring ticketing service Ticketfly for $450 million. But investors showed caution, sending Pandora shares down as much as 7.1 percent before closing down 4.6 percent, to $20.98.
Investors' hesitance is understandable. Pandora paid $450 million for ticketing service Ticketfly -- valuing the company at 8 times revenue -- in an effort to provide artists with career-helping tools. Secondarily, Pandora will seek to leverage Ticketfly's data while looking for untapped sponsorship opportunities for Ticketfly clients. Aside from those sponsorship opportunities and the addition of Ticketfly's revenue, said to be $55 million in the first half of the year, much of the deal's value will come from synergies resulting from the companies' combination. Other than the low-hanging fruit of redundant staff (the companies made no mention of potential layoffs), synergies aren't always captured and may be difficult to explain and quantify for shareholders.
Analysts were more positive. Canaccord analyst Michael Graham sees potential in leveraging Ticketfly's data anlytics and reiterated his "buy" ratings and $26 price targets. CRT analyst Robert Coolbrith was "generally positive" about the acquisition and kept his "buy" rating and $25 price targets. Stifel Nicolaus analyst John Egbert was positive, saying the deal allows Pandora to benefit from the live music growth "being driven in large part by rapid growth in streaming music consumption."