Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ) has acquired a majority ownership stake in Tidal, the global music and entertainment platform, in a $297 million cash-and-stock transaction.
What Happened: Tidal was launched in 2014 by the Norwegian company Aspiro, which was acquired by Project Panther Bidco Ltd., a British-American holding company, one year later.
In 2017, Sprint Corp. bought 33% of Tidal for $200 million.
In a press statement, Square said its majority stake expands the company’s “purpose of economic empowerment to a new vertical: musicians.”
Tidal offers a catalog of more than 70 million songs and 250,000 videos, and it claims relationships with more than 100 labels and distributors and a listener base in 56 countries.
Rapper and business executive Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, a Tidal board member and shareholder, is expected to join Square’s board of directors after the deal closes. All of Tidal’s artist shareholders will continue as co-owners of the platform.
Why It Matters: “It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work,” said Jack Dorsey, cofounder and CEO of Square.
“New ideas are found at intersections, and we believe there’s a compelling one between music and the economy. I knew TIDAL was something special as soon as I experienced it, and it will continue to be the best home for music, musicians, and culture.”
Carter said artists deserve "better tools" to help in their creative journey.
“Jack and I have had many discussions about Tidal’s endless possibilities that have made me even more inspired about its future. This shared vision makes me even more excited to join the Square board. This partnership will be a game-changer for many.”
SQ Price Action: Square shares were down 6% at $220.15 at last check Thursday.
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter and Jack Dorsey. Photograph courtesy of Square.
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