The deal will supposedly be announced next week, according to the Financial Times, who first reported news of the rumored acquisition. If true, the deal would be the largest acquisition in Apple’s history. It would also mark a huge change in strategy for Apple, which has traditionally stayed away from high-dollar acquisitions.
Some details of the deal are still in the works, according to FT’s sources, which means the talks could still fall apart. What we do know is that Apple would take control of Beats’ hardware business (including its signature headphones) and its relatively new streaming-music service, Beats Music.
While a billion-dollar acquisition would be out of character for Apple, the company could certainly afford it. (Apple has billions in cash and cash equivalents that it isn’t doing anything with.) But more than that, buying Beats seems like a very odd move for Apple — especially since iPhone maker already has the means to produce quality audio hardware as well as its own streaming music service, iTunes Radio.
A few past reports do lend credibility to Apple buying Beats. For instance, Beats founder Jimmy Iovine has previously gone on record about how he prodded Apple founder Steve Jobs to launch an Apple music service. Additionally, Beats was rumored to be considering a partnership with Apple to launch Beats Music just last year.
As for Beats, the company was rumored to be pursuing a major new round of funding worth $60 million to $100 million, as VentureBeat previously reported. (Beats is said to need the additional funds to stay competitive with leading on-demand music service Spotify, which it competes with directly in the streaming realm.) That’s on top of the $60 million raise that Beats closed a little over a year ago.
VentureBeat is reaching out to both Apple and Beats for further comment and will update this post with any new information we learn.