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Kering Founder François Pinault Set to Buy Music Streaming Platform

François Pinault during the conference about the Bourse de Commerce.
François Pinault during the conference about the Bourse de Commerce. (Shutterstock)

Billionaire François Pinault and the other founders of a blank-check firm are buying music-streaming platform Deezer in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.

The family office of Kering SA founder Pinault, as well as two other founding members of I2PO, a blank-check firm that listed in Paris last year, said Monday they would acquire the French company for an enterprise value of 1.075 billion euros ($1.16 billion) and take it public.

The combined entity is raising at least 120 million euros with the original investors as well as new ones and plans to list Deezer in Paris around July once the deal closes, according to to three people familiar with the transaction.

Deezer is an unprofitable streaming platform that competes with Spotify Technology SA, another loss-making platform, as well as Apple Music. Deezer’s biggest markets are France, Brazil and Germany, and it wants to expand notably in the U.S. and the U.K., the people said.

The platform will seek to penetrate more markets by expanding its partnership deals, such as the one it has with broadcaster RTL in Germany. Deezer is seeking to reach profitability and 1 billion euros in revenue by 2025, the company said in a statement.

The streaming service will keep CEO Jeronimo Folgueira in his role following the merger. Chairman Guillaume d’Hauteville will be replaced by Iris Knobloch, one of I2PO’s founders and a former WarnerMedia executive, before the end of the year. Banker Matthieu Pigasse, the head of Centerview Partners in France, is the third founder of I2PO.

Deezer previously tried to go public in 2015 but postponed the IPO due to market conditions, it said at the time. The company’s shareholders include Access Industries, a fund set up by Len Blavatnik, as well as Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding Co. and phone carrier Orange SA.

Centerview Partners advised the I2PO founders on the deal. Evercore is advising Deezer. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Deezer was nearing a deal with I2PO to go public via SPAC.

By Angelina Rascouet

Learn more:

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