RealNetworks to acquire Listen.com

RealNetworks will add a few new instruments to its online music arrangement by acquiring Listen.com for about US$36 million, the company announced Monday.

Through the cash and stock acquisition, which is expected to close late in the second quarter or early in the third quarter, RealNetworks will get Listen.com's music and artist information, technology and distribution arrangements, RealNetworks said in a statement. Listen.com operates the Rhapsody subscription service and has distribution relationships with several broadband Internet providers, online music sites and PC and consumer electronics manufacturers. RealNetworks, in Seattle, currently operates the RealOne SuperPass subscription media service.

RealNetworks will pay about $17.3 million in cash and 4.1 million shares of its stock for Listen.com, meaning the deal would be worth about $36 million based on the closing price of RealNetworks' stock on Friday. Listen.com President and Chief Executive Officer Sean Ryan will continue to lead the Listen.com team as vice president of music services in the RealOne division. Listen.com Founder and Chairman Rob Reid will be RealNetworks' vice president of strategic development. The team will remain in San Francisco and continue to operate music services for its customers and distribution partners, according to RealNetworks.