Media IPO market heating up


As The Nielsen Company moves to price its initial public offering, a couple of other media-related companies appear to be teeing up stock offerings as well. CNBC reported that Pandora, the Internet radio company, is preparing an IPO and several news outlets said the same of Groupon.

Pandora is said to be planning to sell about $100 million of stock to the public. A lead underwriter could be named any day now, CNBC reported. Although Pandora is the clear leader in the Internet-only radio space, it is still pretty small in Wall Street terms.

Groupon is said to be looking to raise a lot more in an IPO after turning down a $6 billion buyout offer from Google. The Internet couponing operation is well known to many broadcasters, who use it on their websites. Groupon just raised $950 million from private investors. It might seek to raise $1-1.5 billion in a public offering – putting the total valuation as high as $15 billion.

RBR-TVBR observation: As Pandora grows it is going to need some unique content to attract and keep listeners. Just being a jukebox is a business model that the satellite radio guys briefly embraced back before they even launched, but soon realized that it wouldn’t work in the long run. And that unique content will cost big bucks.

Our bet is that the Nielsen IPO will get done and help to thaw the icy market for new stock. Groupon and Pandora are just beginning the process, so it will take them a while to come to market. But once the window of opportunity opens there should be several companies in the traditional and new media space step up to sell stock.