A new 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 the report claimed that an announcement could come as early as next week.
The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and re/code have corroborated the report. If true, the acquisition would be an unusually large one for Apple, which has tended to avoid billion-dollar deals. Apple CEO Tim Cook did tell the Journalin 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.
It’s also not clear what exactly Apple hopes to gain from Beats, as its streaming music service is still unproven. Beats Music launched in January and is believed to have subscriber counts in the “low six figures.”
Interestingly, smartphone maker HTC was formerly a majority investor in Beats, but it sold back its stake in 2012 and 2013. Beats President Luke Woods explained last October that the partnership between the two firms ended because the “landscape had just changed” and Beats was able to stand on its own.