NewsWritten by Nastassia Baroni on May 9, 2014
Apple is reportedly in talks to acquire Beats Electronics, the high-end audio products and equipment retailer co-founded by hip-hop mogul Dr Dre, in a deal worth $3.2 billion. The acquisition would be the company’s largest ever.
According to a Financial Times report, the deal could be announced as early as next week, although some details are yet to be ironed out and talks in the meantime could still fall apart. A deal of this size would be a departure for the Apple brand.
If the deal goes through, Apple will acquire Beats’ subscription music-streaming service alongside its hardware division, with the electronic company’s management team reporting to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Founded by Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine, Beats Electronics primarily produces products under the brand name “Beats by Dr. Dre”, its feature product being their trademark high-end headphones which range in price from $139-$519.
“This is really puzzling,” said Forrester analyst James McQuivey, as reported in Fairfax Media. “You buy companies today to get technologies that no one else or customers that no one has. They must have something hidden under the hood.”
The Financial Times report posits that Apple may be looking to acquire Beats to instil a “cool factor” into the Californian company, which has been waning in popularity thanks to slowing music sales and competitor Samsung’s effective marketing campaigns.
According to Forbes, Beats Music holds patents on certain useful software technology, and its subscription streaming music service could help Apple’s iTunes service expand in reach and generate a entirely new list of subscribers for Apple.
This would not be Beats’ first time at the rodeo with a telco investor. Electronics maker HTC bought half the company in 2011 for $300 million, only to sell back half of that stake in July 2012 and the rest in September 2013.
Beats Electronics was valued at $1bn last September, when a the Carlyle Group, a top private equity firm, invested $500 million in Dre’s company. Beats also reportedly raised US $60 million in funding from others billionaires, including our very own James Packer.
Cash Kings 2013: The World’s 20 Highest-Paid Hip-Hop Artists – The Top 10
1. P. Diddy ($50 million) - How can this be? P. Diddy hasn't been popular since he changed his name to be more child friendly. Ciroc vodka. That's how. The rapper can attribute most of this cash to the success of the brand as well as his record label Bad Boy as well as his Sean John clothing label and probably the odd sale from 1997's No Way Out.
2. Jay Z ($43 million)
- He may not be #1 but $43,000,000 is still some serious cheese. A natural born business man, Jay-Z is always scheming something. The cool $5 million deal with Samsung surely didn't hurt this net figure leaving the other $38 million to come from Armand De Brignac alcohol sales.
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3. Dr. Dre ($40 million) - This one's easy to explain. Create an average quality headphone set, mark up the price 800%, get enough famous people to wear them so the unwashed masses feel they want, nay, need a pair and viola, $40 million.
4. Nicki Minaj ($29 million) - Narrowing in on a radio friendly, yet kinda gangsta niche, say what you will about Minaj but she's doing something different and it's working. Penning a cash-heavy deal with American Idol doesn't hurt either.
5. Birdman ($21 million) - One of the Cash Money Records tycoons, Birdman is probably struggling to get out of the way of the money. Once again, Vodka sales played a role in this figure.
6. Kanye West ($20 million) - Leather jogging pants, snowman outfits and Maybach vehicles. $20 Million may seem like a lot but not if you're this much of a douche. Fail, Kanye. I believed in you. Hmph.
7. Lil Wayne ($16 million) - Lil Wayne is also another puppet master of Cash Money Records, though didn't tie with counterpart Birdman as Wayne probably blew most of it on legal bills. Legal bills and codine. Wayne also earns passive income from his own record label Young Money.
8. Wiz Khalifa ($14 million) - Wiz Khalife is doing suprisingly well for a newbie to the game. Life shows and a killer follow up album saw Wiz make it to the list. Mind you he better keep it up as $14 mill isn't enough to keep Amber Rose happy.
9. Ludacris ($12 million - With his new album still yet to be released, Luda is relying on the cash from Soul heaphone sales, live shows, his mad acting skills and that sweet, sweet 'fuck you' Conjure Congac money.
10. Pitbull ($11 million) - Unfortunately, there are people out there who like this dude. Sales of his latest album Global Warming saw Mr. Worldwide's bank account soar. Touring played it's part as did sponsors with Kodak and Dr. Pepper so kids, remember, you can make double-digit millions by scrapping the barrel.