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Jay Z to take on Spotify as he snaps up Swedish music streaming company in 56 million deal.

Jay Z to take on Spotify as he snaps up Swedish music streaming company in 56 million deal
Hip-hop star Jay-Z is buying a Scandinavian music streaming company for $56 million to take on Spotify and Apple and add to a business empire that has spanned clothing and sports bars.

Project Panther Bidco Ltd, a company controlled by the 45-year-old rapper, said on Friday it had agreed to buy Sweden-listed Aspiro for 464 million Swedish crowns ($56 million) in cash.

Shares in Aspiro, which runs music streaming service WiMP, leapt 59 percent in early trading to the bid level of 1.05 crowns per share.

'I think they will be a better owner to lift Aspiro and its advanced music streaming service to a new level,' said Trond Berger, the financial director of Norwegian media group Shibsted, currently Aspiro's majority owner.

At the end of the third quarter of 2014, Wimp said it had 512,000 paying users in Germany, Poland and the Nordic countries.

That is a far cry from its Nordic rival Spotify, a pioneer in the streaming music business.

The unlisted company boasted 15 million paying subscribers in mid-January and is available in 58 countries.

Norwegian business daily Dagens Naeringsliv reported that Jay Z's company was particularly interested in Wimp's high-fidelity Tidal streaming service which is being launched on the US market.

'The Wimp/Tidal service has the potential for greatness, given that it has high-end audio capabilities,' music specialist Simon Dyson at corporate analytics firm Ovum told AFP in an email, adding that the $56-million price tag was 'not excessive'.

Wimp would need substantial investments to challenge Spotify or US tech giant Apple's widely expected entry into the market later this year after acquiring Beats Music from another rap star, Dr Dre, in 2014.

Jay-Z, real name Shawn Corey Carter, is one of the world's best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records.

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Forbes estimated last year that his net worth was $520 million.

Married to Beyonce, Jay-Z has had a number of business interests, including 40/40 Club sports bars and Rocawear clothing.

His mix of music and entrepeneurial interests mirrors that of other rappers, including De Dre, who sold his Beats headphones business to Apple, and 50 Cent, who sold his vitamin water business to Coca-Cola.

Norwegian media house Schibsted, Aspiro's main shareholder, said it had accepted the offer, while Aspiro's board said it was united in recommending the bid, virtually ensuring its success.

Source: Forbes

Date Posted: Friday, January 30th, 2015 , Total Page Views: 680

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