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Apple in Talks for $3.2 Billion Beats Deal (Financial Times)
Apple is closing in on its largest ever acquisition with the planned $3.2 billion purchase of Beats Electronics, the headphone maker and music streaming operator founded by music producer Jimmy Iovine and the hip-hop star Dr. Dre. The deal could be announced as early as next week, people familiar with the negotiations said, but they cautioned that some details had yet to be agreed upon and talks could still fall apart. GigaOM While Beats Electronics is best known for its premium headphones, it launched a streaming music service, Beats Music, in January. According to the report, the streaming service would be included in the deal. Apple runs its own streaming music service, iTunes Radio. NYT / DealBook For Apple, whose revenue growth has slowed sharply in the last few years, the deal could point to a headlong move into the frontier of streaming music. iTunes Radio has been slow to enter the streaming world. At over $3 billion, the Beats acquisition would be a major departure for Apple, which under Steve Jobs favored smaller deals. CNET Beats Music debuted with a powerful billing and marketing partnership with AT&T and it has reportedly been growing quickly. Although the company has yet to disclose hard and fast subscriber numbers, industry estimates peg the total at about 200,000. The talks come as trends in music purchasing are shifting to subscription services. Data from the Recording Industry Association of America found that paid subscription services grew the fastest of all digital formats last year, rising to 57 percent, while revenues from permanent digital downloads that are iTunes’ specialty declined 1 percent. Mashable Apple has ramped up its pace of acquisitions in recent months. CEO Tim Cook has said in the past that he’s open to the idea of making 10-figure acquisitions. Apple stock was down by a little less than 0.5 percent in after-hours trading following the report.

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