Last.fm’s $280m jackpot

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Who says European entrepreneurship is dead? Last.fm, a music site that pools its users’ preferences to offer personalised music recommendations, became the latest EU-based startup to be bought out on Wednesday after it agreed to be acquired by CBS for $280m. The company, which operates from the gritty streets of East London, is the latest in a string of internet deals for the US television network. Other recent deals include CBS’s acquisition of Wallstrip.com, an innovative web show; and investments in Joost, the online TV site created by the founders of Skype, and Spot Runner, a web-based TV ad group.

Richard Jones, a Last.fm founder, outlined the company’s reasoning about the deal on the recently-launched Last.fm blog:

The team here have spent a lot of time this year discussing what the future should hold for Last.fm, and while contemplating raising some additional venture capital we were approached by CBS. As you can imagine, we have been approached numerous times in the past few years from all the usual suspects regarding acquisitions and so on; CBS are one of the few companies who needed no explanation of what we are doing, and we were impressed at how progressive their plans are. This deal with CBS gives us a chance to really make Last.fm shine, and gives us more flexibility than other funding options would for doing all the crazy stuff we’re had scribbled on whiteboards for years.

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