Amazon in talks to buy podcast publisher Wondery

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Internet giant Amazon is in talks to buy podcast publisher Wondery, which serves up hit audio shows Dr Death and Serial, the Wall Street Journal reported.

West Hollywood-based Wondery boasts being the world’s largest independent podcast publisher, and has reportedly also explored the potential for acquisition with Apple and Sony Music Entertainment.

Industry tracker Podtrac ranked Wondery as being the fourth most listened to podcast publisher in the United States (US) in November, with slightly over nine million people tuning in to audio programmes it hosts.

Podcasts have boomed in popularity, with people tuning in to hear compelling real or scripted stories as well as interviews.

Launched in 2016, Wondery won audiences for shows such as Dr Death, Dirty John, Business Wars, The Shrink Next Door and Gladiator. Wondery is seeking USD300 million or more from a suitor, according to US media reports.

Amazon and Wondery both declined comment on the report.

Word that Wondery is open to being bought comes as its Chief Executive Hernan Lopez defends himself against federal criminal charges over alleged bribes paid for broadcasting rights to major soccer tournaments while he worked as a Fox executive.

Amazon, which already offers some podcasts through its music app, is facing increased scrutiny from antitrust enforcers for its growing dominance over key sectors of the economy as it expands in retail and streaming media.