MEXICAN mobile phone tycoon Carlos Slim, once the world’s richest man, has invested $40m (£26m) in the British music recognition service Shazam ahead of a potential initial public offering (IPO).
The deal, officially announced this morning, will see Slim’s America Movil pre-load the service onto its mobile phones and could push the company’s growth to new levels.
But the move fuels speculation that the Hammersmith-based business is shifting its focus to the Americas and could choose to hold its IPO in the US rather than on the London Stock Exchange. This follows April’s announcement that new chief executive Rich Riley would be based in New York, not London.
Yesterday a Shazam spokesman insisted “no decision has been taken” on where to go public and the IPO will not occur until next year at the earliest. Shazam, which began life in 2002 as a paid-for text message service, has seen its usage balloon after it released a free mobile phone application and expanded its recognition abilities to television shows, adverts and physical goods. In the last two years its monthly active users have trebled to 70m and it has driven $300m worth of sales through affiliated stores such as iTunes in the last year.
But despite the fast growth the company is still not profitable.