Following Billboard and Hollywood Reporter’s acquisition of Spin, Vibe and Stereogum they themselves are now being eyed by the Chinese media conglomerate Alibaba.
Rumours have begun circulating that Alibaba are interested in purchasing the Hollywood reporter and music industry magazine Billboard Media Group. This follows the Chinese giant’s purchase of Dick Clark Productions, another entity of Eldridge Industries – the owner of Billboard Media Group and the Hollywood Reporter.
This follows Alibaba’s consolidation of all their entertainment offerings in November, bringing together their various investments in music, games, film and more media under Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group. As they brought their entertainment under on umbrella they revealed $1.5 billion of new investment into the area. Alibaba have also said they plan to invest $7.2 billion in acquisitions of media over the next few years, with Billboard and Hollywood Reporter potentially being their next purchase.
The rumours are even more likely as, last summer, Eldridge industries hired investment bankers to review their media holdings, reportedly in preparation of a possible sale. As one of the biggest entities in the music industry a purchase of Billboard would give Alibaba a great doorway into western music media, as other purchases have done for them expanding into film and news around the world.
Billboard may also be looking to get some fresh investment as the past year has seen them lose some key players. Just last week editor Andrew Flanigan left for a place at NPR. Last month Billboard lost one of it’s longest serving members, Ray Waddell, who left his 30 year post at Billboard for a position at the newly launched Oak View Group of Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff.
Personal news: Today's my last as an editor for @billboard, and I am very sad to say goodbye to all my friends there
— Andrew Flanagan (@philouza) January 6, 2017