Pandora's Stock Soars As New Board Member Gives 'credence' To Buyout Speculation

By Tomi KilgoreMarketWatch Pulse

Pandora Media Inc.'s stock surged 10% in active trade Thursday, as the addition of a long-time media executive to the music streaming services board of directors fueled merger speculation. The company said late Wednesday that it expanded the size of its board to 10 members from nine, with the addition of Anthony J. Vinciquerra, who Pandora said has three decades of media industry experience, and has been a senior advisor to private equity firm Texas Pacific Group in the technology, media and telecom sectors since 2011. Speculation about a merger has been around for a while, but analyst Rich Tullo at Albert Fried & Co. said adding Vinciquerra to the board gives "a little credence" to the speculation. "If I were selling Pandora, I would add a director like Mr. Vinciquerra to the board," Tullo wrote in a note to clients. "If I were buying Pandora, I would send Mr. Vinciquerra to Pandora to aid in integration. Just a speculation." The stock was still down 20% year to date, while the S&P 500 has slipped 0.9%.

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