In a move aimed at boosting its falling stock price, Spotify this morning announced it would buy back up to $1.0 billion worth of stock — up to 10 million in ordinary shares. The repurchase program was authorized by the company’s general meeting of shareholders and approved by the Board of Directors. The program will expire on April 21, 2021, Spotify says.
The decision to buy back stock comes at a time when Spotify is reporting modest growth for its streaming business, but is struggling in public markets as investors have become skeptical as to whether or not the company will be able to sustain that growth long-term and become profitable.
It’s also been impacted by the larger declines impacting tech stocks, which in October saw their worst month since the 2008 recession.
In the last quarter, Spotify reported revenues up 31 percent year over year, and an operating loss of €6 million — a 92 percent improvement on a year ago. Its monthly active users were also at 191 million, which was up 28 percent over last year.
But the company faces heavy competition these days — especially in the key U.S. market — from Apple Music, as well as from underdog Amazon Music, which is leveraging Amazon’s base of Prime subscribers to grow. It also has a new challenge in light of the Sirius XM / Pandora deal.
The larger part of Spotify’s business is free users — 109 million monthly actives on the ad-supported tier. But its programmatic ad platform is currently only live in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia. That leaves Spotify room to grow ad revenues in the months ahead.
“The repurchase program will be executed consistent with the company’s capital allocation strategy of prioritizing investment to grow the business over the long-term,” Spotify said in a statement. It said the program could be “suspended or discontinued at any time at the company’s discretion.”