LastFM’s founder refused to comment on rumors that the online music website was in negotiations to be acquired by Viacom, the blog Vecosys reported this morning. On Tuesday we reported that a well-placed source had told us that Viacom executives and lawyers were in London, where LastFM is based, to negotiate a purchase of LastFM.
Mike Butcher of Vecosys writes:
I just got off the phone to LastFM co-founder Richard Jones, who told Vecosys: “If you do a little digging there have been all sorts of rumours over the last few months none of which have turned out to be true. Our policy is not to comment on rumours.” And indeed he didn’t comment. But if this turns out to be true this would be possibly the biggest deal to come out of London for an Internet startup for several years. Stay tuned… literally
Not a confirmation but not a denial either. And our source is sticking by the story. Watch this space for updates.
LastFM on the block? [Vecosys]
Viacom has jumped into bed with Joost, the Wall Street Journal reported today. Joost is a new internet video service from the creators of Skype and Kaaza. It aims to bring high-resolution, commercial video to users, rather than serve as a video sharing network that would compete with YouTube. The details of the deal haven’t been disclosed but likely include some sort of agreement to share revenue from online advertising pegged to Viacom-owned content.
We’re not sure whether this makes the possible LastFM acquisition we mentioned earlier more or less likely. But our instincts point to “more likely.” Even the Journal‘s headline—Viacom Charts New Course Oneline—suggests that this isn’t a “one-off” deal for Viacom but is part of a larger corporate strategy to expand its online presence. A deal to pickup LastFM would certainly fit that strategy.
Viacom Charts New Course Online [$$] [Wall Street Journal]
Viacom executives are in London negotiating the purchase of LastFM, the London based “online social music network” (read: internet radio station), according to a music business source familiar with the negotiations. The purchase price is said to be $450 million dollars.
Viacom has been reportedly looking to expand its online presence. Reports have claimed that Viacom executives were disappointed that they did not pickup YouTube. LastFM recently signed a deal with Warner Music Group giving the internet radio station the rights to play WMG’s entire music catalog. Shortly before YouTube signed its deal to be acquired by Google, the video sharing network signed several rights deals with video content owners. There has been some speculation that LastFM’s recent dealmaking might have cleared the way for an acquisition by a larger media or internet company.
Neither Viacom nor LastFM returned calls this morning seeking comment on the rumor.