MarketWatch First Take: A Pandora sale to Sirius would be easier than staying solo

Amid diverging reports on Friday that helped fuel a 10% jump in the shares of potential takeout candidate, Pandora Media Inc., one thing is clear: If Pandora does not get acquired, by Sirius XM Holdings Inc. SIRI, -5.60% or another larger media giant, it will have to make history to survive.

That’s because no stand-alone company dedicated to streaming music on the internet has been able to turn a profit, thanks to hefty music royalties and licensing fees that make them expensive to operate. Today, Pandora’s P, +16.11% rivals are mostly on-demand streaming services and many are owned by tech giants; radio webcasting rivals such as Last.fm and Live365 were acquired or shut down amid higher royalty rates.

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