Jay Z snaps up music streaming company Aspiro in $76m deal

Jay Z is buying a Scandinavian music streaming company for US$56 million (S$76 million) to add to a business empire that has spanned clothing and sports bars. -- PHOTO: AFP
Jay Z is buying a Scandinavian music streaming company for US$56 million (S$76 million) to add to a business empire that has spanned clothing and sports bars. -- PHOTO: AFP

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Hip-hop star Jay Z is buying a Scandinavian music streaming company for US$56 million (S$76 million) to 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 (S$76 million) in cash.

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

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

Married to pop star 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 vitaminwater business to Coca-Cola.

Project Panther said it had followed the development of Aspiro for some time, believing it to be "an innovative high-quality company with strong future growth potential".

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.

Schibsted owns around 75 per cent of Streaming Media AS, which in turn owns about 76 per cent of Aspiro.