The iPhone-maker has held preliminary discussions with iHeartMedia about taking an equity stake in the company, according to the Financial Times. The FT says a source has told them iHeartMedia is hoping Apple will take a stake in the company worth tens of millions. However, another source said that any tie-up would likely result in a multimillion-dollar marketing partnership rather than a direct investment.
Any cash injection from Apple would benefit iHeartMedia as it is currently saddled with $20 billion in debt and is trying to claw its way out of bankruptcy. Still, iHeartMedia does operate more than 850 radio stations across the U.S., making it the major player in the industry.
As to what Apple could get from a deal with iHeartMedia: Any tie-up could result in Apple’s Beats 1 radio being delivered on-air through traditional FM stations. Currently, Apple Music subscribers can only stream the station through Apple devices. Giving Beats 1 radio an FM home could help expand its audience and create awareness among older FM listeners of Apple’s music streaming service, eventually driving them to the platform.