Stingray Digital Makes $120M Offer for Music Choice

Canadian digital and music video company Stingray Digital Group said it has made an unsolicited offer to purchase pay TV stalwart Music Choice for $120 million.

Stingray and Music Choice have a long history. In 2015, Music Choice sued Stingray for patent infringement after AT&T U-verse dropped Music Choice in favor of the Canadian company. Music Choice had claimed that Stingray’s service included digital audio music and video-on-demand features that infringed on its patents, features that Stingray enhanced after getting access to confidential information during talks about possibly buying Music Choice in 2015. Stingray counter-sued, asserting "claims of unfair competition, defamation, trade libel, tortious interference with existing and prospective contractual relationships, and unfair competition."

Music Choice is jointly owned by Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Communications, Sony Corporation of America, WarnerMedia, Arris, and Microsoft. The service offers audio and video music channels to pay TV and cable operators, counting Charter, Comcast, Cox and others among its customers.

Stingray says its offer is good until Aug. 31 and includes “vendor-friendly terms” that would expedite closing. Music Choice did not return requests for comment, but Stingray said Music Choice is currently reviewing the proposal.

This isn’t the first time Stingray has tried to purchase Music Choice – it had made unsuccessful bids in 2013 and 2015. This time, however, it believes its chances are better.

“We believe that our formal offer to purchase has strong merit and would bring a significant return on investment for Music Choice unitholders,” Stingray co-founder and CEO Eric Boyko said in a statement. “Music Choice would benefit greatly from joining forces with Stingray, given that we are well positioned to expand and build Music Choice’s product portfolio and distribution in the United States and around the world. We look forward to bringing this process to a positive conclusion for the benefit Music Choice unitholders and all stakeholders."

Stingray, based in Montreal, claims to reach 400 million users in 156 countries through audio and premium television channels, karaoke products, digital signage, in-store music and music apps.