Provided that a California Fairness Hearing approves the acquisition, RealNetworks has bought Listen.com for a proposed $36 million. The purchase will provide RealNetworks with Listen.com’s Rhapsody online music subscription service — which has partnered with a number of consumer electronics companies to bring the service into consumer’s homes — and augment its foray into online music subscription services: RealOne and MusicNet, which launched in 2001 with backing by AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann and EMI.
The buyout will provide RealNetworks with Listen.com’s music content, distribution and technology partners, such as Verizon, Sprint, Gateway, Lycos and many others. All major music labels have given their consent to the deal.
Listen.com’s executive and management team will join RealNetworks’ staff: Sean Ryan continues as VP of music services and joins the RealOne division; and Rob Reid, founder of Listen.com, holds the VP of strategic development position. Listen.com will remain in San Francisco and continue to operate music services.
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