It’s a done deal. Lew Dickey’s Modern Media Acquisition Corp. has completed its merger with streaming music service Akazoo. Akazoo, which doesn’t currently operate in the U.S., expects to begin trading today on the Nasdaq stock exchange under the ticker "SONG," having raised around $55 million in new capital.
The closing came more than two years after Dickey formed his so-called blank check company to buy a media, entertainment or marketing company. And it arrived just six days before a Sept. 17 deadline Dickey had to cinch the deal or return the money contributed by MMA’s shareholders. Shareholders approved the deal at the end of August.
Both Akazoo’s management and its shareholders rolled over their equity into $380 million of common shares of the combined company.
In its ninth year of operation, Akazoo specializes in emerging markets with 5.3 million subscribers for its premium music service in 25 countries across Europe, Southeast Asia, South America and Africa. With a catalogue of 45 million songs and a free radio service providing access to 100,000 stations, Akazoo expects to grow to 10 million paid subscribers by 2021.
In first half 2019, the company's revenues grew 39% year-over-year. Growth is expected to be driven by existing and new partnerships that include mobile operators, handset manufacturers, media and partnering mobile applications and services, as well as growth in smartphone penetration in their core markets.
Akazoo Founder & CEO Apostolos Zervos will continue as CEO of the combined company. Dickey will serve as the combined entity's Chairman. "Akazoo has created a high growth digital global music streaming platform that is well-positioned to benefit from secular shifts underway in the media industry,” Dickey said in a news release. “Its strong presence in emerging markets provides a foundation for sustained growth in revenues and profits and our strong balance sheet will be used to fund many growth initiatives."