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Pandora Media Inc Stock Up 12% on Buyout Rumors: Here's What You Should Know

By Jason Hall – Mar 24, 2016 at 2:39PM

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The music streaming company's expansion of its board has people thinking a merger or buyout is becoming more likely.

Image source: Pandora Media.

What: Music streaming service Pandora Media Inc (P) shares are up 11.7% at 12:08 p.m. EST on March 24, following yesterday's announcement that the company was expanding its board of directors from nine to 10, adding Anthony J. "Tony" Vinciquerra as an independent member.

So what: This is less about that the board was expanded and more about who was added, as Vinciquerra has a long and deep background in the media business. In other words, the speculation is that he's being brought onto the board as much for his connections to the industry as for his expertise and experience -- and someone who could be part of a plan to find a merger partner or a buyer for the company.

The less speculative view, however, is that Vinciquerra's addition to the board simply follows the company's other moves over the past year to add more music and entertainment industry veterans to its board -- and is simply a part of that longer-term strategy. 

But at the same time, speculation that Pandora would be best served from a buyout or merger isn't new, as its streaming business continues to struggle with listener growth, especially as challengers such as Apple, with massive resources and a huge existing customer base, ramp up their own streaming music services. 

Now what: Frankly, this sort of speculation isn't really investable information. Adding a seasoned industry veteran such as Vinciquerra to the board could be viewed as a prelude to a deal to merge or sell Pandora to another media entity, or it could just be part of the longer-term strategy to find profitable growth and a path forward in a very competitive environment. 

Either way, if you're a Pandora shareholder who's invested for the long term, this isn't really the sort of news worth acting on. And if you're considering buying shares, it's probably not worth doing so simply based on the buyout rumors, which could unravel just as quickly as they started, leaving you losing money instead of making a quick buck. 

Bottom line: Don't get caught up in the rumor game. If you're going to invest in Pandora, make sure you're doing it because of the fundamentals and long-term prospects of the business, and not speculation on a buyout that may or may not play out how you expect it to. 

Jason Hall owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple and Pandora Media. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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