Apple is in talks to buy a stake in struggling U.S. radio company iHeartMedia, says a new Financial Times report citing the ever-popular source, “people familiar with the matter.”
The iPhone maker, which will report quarterly results on Thursday, is among the companies that have talked with iHeartMedia about a deal, according to people familiar with the discussions. iHeartMedia is hoping Apple will take an equity stake worth tens of millions of dollars, according to one person briefed on the talks. Another person suggested that the tie-up could result in a multimillion-dollar marketing partnership rather than a direct investment
A partnership could see Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio station, which is only available through its apps, make its debut on broadcast radio. Extra distribution would give Beats 1 and Apple Music greater awareness among older audiences who are later adopters of streaming services. A deal would also put the Apple station into more cars or kitchens.
iHeartMedia is struggling, as are many terrestrial radio companies, and is currently $20 billion in debt. The group filed for bankruptcy back in March, and has since then been looking for potential investors. The company is scheduled to file a reorganization plan with the bankruptcy court later this month.
Media companies like iHeartMedia are struggling as listeners continue to steer away from radio in favor of streaming music services such as Apple Music and Spotify.
Discussions between the two companies are said to be in the early stages, and no deal has been reached. Representatives for both Apple and iHeartMedia declined to comment.
Despite its financial struggles, iHeartMedia is the largest radio broadcaster in the United States, and owns over 850 stations across the country.