June 3, 2015 / 6:55 PM / 2 years ago

INTERVIEW-Stingray CEO aims to grow music reach via acquisitions

(Adds details on operations, background; updates stock price)

By Alastair Sharp

TORONTO, June 3 (Reuters) - Newly listed Stingray Digital Group Inc plans to spend some C$50 million ($40 million) this year to acquire broader distribution for its streaming music channels, its chief executive said on Wednesday.

Shares in Montreal-based Stingray jumped 19 percent on their debut, a shot in the arm for Canada's bubbling market for initial public offerings, as the music and media company eyed acquisitions to expand across the Americas, eastern Europe and Asia.

Eric Boyko, who founded the Montreal-based company in 2007 and will maintain voting control, said Stingray spent about C$50 million in five deals last year and plans to keep up the pace.

"Our plan is to keep on the acquisition plan. We are very aggressive on the acquisitions that we want to do," Boyko said in a telephone interview.

He said Stingray's music channels are available on only seven out of every hundred U.S. cable TV subscriptions, offering ample room for growth in that market.

Stingray curates almost fifty music channels for hotels and other businesses as well as consumers via pay-TV packages.

At mid-afternoon, the stock was trading around C$7.41, valuing Stingray at about C$377 million, after pricing at C$6.25.

The bounce underscores the appetite for technology investments in Canada just two weeks after Ottawa e-commerce company Shopify's much larger stock market debut.

A string of young Canadian companies are eyeing the public markets, including payments software startup Payfirma and social media software company Hootsuite.

Boyko said Stingray had earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of C$27 million last year and free cash flow of C$17 million. He expects free cash flow to be nearer C$21 million this year.

$1 = 1.2468 Canadian dollars Reporting by Alastair Sharp; Editing by Andre Grenon and Richard Chang

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