Apple eyes Dr. Dre’s Beats for a possible $3.2 billion buyout

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Update: Tyrese Gibson, actor and friend of Dr. Dre, has uploaded a video to his Facebook page just a few hours ago. In the video, Dr. Dre confirms that he is the “first billionaire in hip-hop,” directly referencing his Beats Audio range, and its speculated sale to Apple.

Does this mean that the deal is official?

(Warning: The video contains strong language)

Original story: And the Beats goes on. Apple has reportedly entered into a deal with thumping music maker Beats Electronics to buy it out for a reported US$3.2-billion.

According to The Financial Times, there are insider sources who say that the Apple-Beats buyout could take place from as early as next week, but we’re guessing not until Dr. Dre creates a special Champagne Gold headset for Apple CEO Tim Cook. Ironically, Beats CEO Dr. Dre created his line of headphones, in part, to compete against the poor quality of bundled iPod and iPhone earphones.

If the deal goes down, Apple will gain Beats streaming music services and equipment (headphones, speakers, earphones, swag, etc) in a move that may cement the Cupertino company’s position as digital audio leader.

The last purchase Apple dropped big money on was July 2012 for AuthenTec’s fingerprint and biometric sensors — Apple spent US$393-million to squeeze fingerprint unlocking tech into the iPhone 5s TouchID sensor.

Judging by the way Apple eats tech and software companies for breakfast, it’s unlikely that we’ll see a Beats-labelled iPhone. Apple is not in the habit of branding its products with third-party labels.

iDevices and Macs will see benefit from Beats, as hopefully we’ll see improved EarPods and a beefed-up iRadio service which could, with the Beats name behind it, draw customers away from competing streaming music services like Spotify and Rdio.

Back in 2011, HTC purchased a majority share in Beats for a cool US$500-million and did very little with the brand to increase its own market footprint, eventually selling off its shares in 2013 as HTC’s smartphone sales began to suffer. But Beats is back with a similar Apple buyout, this time though to a company with the clout to follow-up on its purchases. Neither Apple or Beats Electronics have commented on the reported deal.

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