A report from Financial Times claims that Apple is close to signing a $3.2 billion acquisition deal for Beats Electronics that would bring both its headphones business and its new streaming music service into the fold. The agreement has yet to be finalized, but an announcement could come as early as next week, according to the report.
The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and re/code have confirmed the report. If true, the acquisition would be an exceptionally large one for Apple, which has tended to avoid billion-dollar deals. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook did tell WSJ in February that the company was open to a big purchase:
We have no problem spending ten figures for the right company that’s the right and that’s in the best interest of Apple in the long-term.
Dr. Dre also appears to confirm the deal in a Facebook video uploaded by Tyrese Gibson (removed from Facebook, but uploaded to YouTube):
“The first billionaire in hip-hop, right here from the motherfucking West Coast.”
The full video is embedded below. Due to the language, it may be NSFW, depending on where you W.
It’s unclear exactly what Apple hopes to gain from Beats, as its streaming music service remains unproven. Beats Music launched in January and is believed to have subscriber counts in the “low six figures.”
Smartphone maker HTC was formerly a majority shareholder of Beats, but it sold its stake back in 2012 and 2013. Beats President Luke Woods explained last October that the partnership ended because the “landscape had just changed” and Beats was able to stand on its own.