Apple eyes stake in struggling U.S. radio group iHeartMedia

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iHeartMedia
A deal could bring Beats 1 to broadcast radio.
Photo: iHeartMedia

Apple is in talks over acquiring a stake in iHeartMedia, according to a new report.

Sources say the company could invest millions of dollars to help save the struggling U.S. radio group, which filed for bankruptcy back in March. However, negotiations are at an early stage for now and no deal has been agreed yet.

With customers now ditching radio in favor of streaming music services like Apple Music and Spotify, iHeartMedia is suffering. The company, which is over $20 billion in debt, has been seeking potential investors that can save it from going under.

According to sources for The Financial Times, one of those investors could be Apple.

Apple could help save iHeartMedia from extinction

It is believed that Apple could cough up millions for a partnership that would not only buy iHeartRadio more time, but could see Beats 1, its own station that is currently only available through iTunes and the Apple Music app, on broadcast radio for the first time.

“Extra distribution would give Beats 1 and Apple Music greater awareness among older audiences who are later adopters of streaming services,” reads the report. “A deal would also put the Apple station into more cars or kitchens.”

One industry executive told the FT that this would be a “power move” for Apple, which could also benefit in its efforts to sign more exclusive deals with major artists. iHeartMedia remains the biggest radio broadcaster in the U.S., despite its struggles, with more than 850 stations.

Given that the negotiations are still at an early stage, a potential deal could still fall through. But Apple has bags of cash at its disposal, and it would likely be willing to offer up as much as it needs to to get another leg up on rival Spotify.