Pandora Merger/Investment Migrating to Directionless

Pandora Media Inc. (NYSE: P) has started having a hard time keeping its investment or merger news straight. After its shares hit a 52-week low on Wednesday, a day ahead of the KKR & Co. LP (NYSE: KKR) $150 million investment deadline, investors had to wonder if there was really going to be any hope of a buyout with any premium.

Recent reports had listed Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) as an interested investor ahead of the KKR investment closing, but they did not go as far as signaling that Verizon would move to acquire Pandora outright. The Liberty SiriusXM Group (NASDAQ: LSXMA), the parent of Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI), had once been listed as a potential buyer, but the price was deemed too high by Greg Maffei, and that was at a higher stock price. Reuters reported over the past few hours that Sirius XM was interested in an investment after an effort to buy Pandora could not be reached over the price.

Now Pandora has said that the KKR deal may not even occur and that the company is seeking a minority investor rather than taking on the KKR investment. The long and short of this matter is that Pandora could get a new big stakeholder but the hopes of a buyout here look like history.

Pandora issued a statement on Thursday morning, leaving the KKR investment as an open option:

Although all conditions to closing of the investment by KKR in Pandora (NYSE: P) have been met and both parties are prepared to close immediately, KKR and Pandora agreed to a brief extension of the pre-closing period and Pandora’s termination right to enable Pandora to explore interest expressed by a strategic investor in making a substantial minority investment in Pandora, in lieu of the KKR investment. If Pandora determines that the KKR investment continues to be in the best interest of its stockholders, the KKR investment will close immediately following the expiration of this extended period.

To add some mystery and uncertainty to the situation, no time or date was stated for what a “brief extension” really looks like on the calendar. Also worth noting is that no accompanying SEC filing was made immediately with the press release.

Pandora has always been a mixed big for investors. The service is quite popular for listeners, but the prices that Pandora has had to pay versus what it can make on advertising have so far been inverted when it comes to being able to post real earnings.

Pandora Media closed down 27 cents at $8.48 on Wednesday, after hitting a 52-week low of $8.14. Pandora shares were indicated up 2.5% at $8.69 on Thursday ahead of the note and the stock was looking for direction after the open.

Sirius XM was down 1% at $5.26 early Thursday, after closing up 0.6% at $5.32 the previous day.