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Jay Z's bid to buy Swedish music streaming service hits roadblock

Jay Z's bid to buy Swedish music streaming company Aspiro has hit a roadblock after some shareholders expressed concern over the rapper's ability to properly finance the service's global expansion.

Through his company Project Panther Bidco Limited, the hip-hop mogul made a $56 million offer to buy Aspiro, which runs hi-fi streaming services WiMP and TIDAL.


Aspiro's primary shareholder confirmed it had accepted the offer and the board had recommended it, however, on Wednesday (04Mar15), Swedish newspaper Dagens Industri reported that a number of minority shareholders have questioned the bid.


The minority shareholders are reportedly "displeased" with the original terms, and are "questioning Jay Z's ability to help finance Aspiro's expansion into international markets."


While a spokesperson for Aspiro said the company executives cannot make any public statements on the acquisition until the offer's acceptance period ends on 11 March (15), the chairman of the independent board committee involved in the deal, Fredrik Bjorland, tells Rolling Stone that he still believes the deal will go through.


He says, "We still believe the offer from Panther is attractive for both the company and its shareholders, and recommend the offer based on this. We have learned from the press that some of the organizations representing minority shareholders have recommended to not accept the offer. That recommendation to not accept the offer involves high risk."


When Jay Z's Panther company bosses first announced the bid, they noted their commitment to reaching international markets in a statement which read: "Panther believes that the recent developments in the entertainment industry, with the migration to media streaming, offers great potential for increased entertainment consumption and an opportunity for artists to further promote their music. Panther's strategic ambition revolves around global expansion and up-scaling of Aspiro’s platform, technology and services."


WiMP, a rival to music streaming service Spotify, boasts more than half a million subscribers in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Poland. It streams more than 25 million songs and 75,000 music videos to over 512,000 paying subscribers.