The company’s original owners may have tripled the main statistic used to calculate their value.
The discovery was made following an internal audit that revealed an initial subscriber base much lower than what the original owners stated, a Tidal rep said. Though the streaming service appears to be doing better recently (thanks in no small part to Kanye West), its rocky first year was highly scrutinized.
“The growth in our subscriber numbers has been even more phenomenal than we’ve previously shared. It became clear after taking control of TIDAL and conducting our own audit that the total number of subscribers was actually well below the 540,000 reported to us by the prior owners,” they explain in a new statement.
Jay Z’s holding company, Project Panther Bidco, have alerted the original Swedish and Norwegian owners and investors that a claim will be filed soon after further internal investigation.
When original owner Aspiro shared Tidal’s subscriber numbers, the primary statistic in calculating its value, a large percentage of those numbers were simply “tie-in” deals with Polish and Norwegian cable and phone providers. In fact, of the 503,000 subscribers reported in 2014, 391,000 of them were subscribed this way, according to Norwegian newspaper Dagens Næringsliv. In other words, Aspiro may have more than tripled the main statistic they used to calculate Tidal’s price.
Schibsted, a Norwegian media company, and majority shareholder in Aspiro have told Bloomberg they disagree with the accusation and any potential claims in the letter they received.
“The company was listed on the stock exchange with everything that entails regarding transparent financial reporting,” said Anders Rikter, a spokesperson for Schibsted.