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Shares of Veritone Inc. (NASDAQ: VERI) jumped 9.7% Monday after the artificial intelligence platform company significantly expanded its relationship with iHeartMedia.
More specifically, Veritone announced it has signed an expanded, two-year agreement with iHeartMedia, giving the audio company a license to its aiWARE platform for over 200 of its radio stations in America's top 50 markets. According to Veritone, the deal allows iHeartMedia "to seamlessly and automatically process, transform, and review audio data in near-real time, with enhanced ad and content tracking, comprehensive analytics, faster content extension, and smarter media management."
"Incorporating Veritone's artificial intelligence capabilities into the robust and data-focused iHeartMedia media ecosystem is another important step toward a smarter future in audio," said Tim Castelli, iHeartMedia's president of national sales, marketing and partnerships. "We are the leaders in audio content and data and Veritone will dramatically assist in our current content monitoring and extension workflow, providing us with even more opportunities to enhance our advertising and content initiatives."
For perspective, this agreement is particularly encouraging for Veritone investors after short-seller Citron Research mused last week that the company "is not artificial intelligence, more like natural stupidity," before suggesting the stock -- which had skyrocketed to nearly $75 per share since its $15-per-share IPO in May -- would "trade right back to $20." Shares of Veritone plummeted more than 50% in just two days as skittish investors took profits off the table.
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That said, the stock also rebounded 23% on Friday, when Roth Capital Partners analyst Brian Alger rebuked Citron for its comments, and increased his per-share price target on Veritone from $13 to $62.
To that end, while Veritone created its platform with media advertising clients like iHeartRadio in mind, Alger also argued that the company will likely expand its scope to other industries through strategic acquisitions. In the meantime, however, given iHeartRadio's reiterated vote of confidence through its expanded deal on Monday, it's no surprise to see Veritone stock climbing once again.
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