It would be the largest acquisition in the company's history: Apple is reportedly on the verge of a $3.2 billion dollar deal to buy Beats Electronics, makers of Beats by Dre headphones and speakers and the Beats Audio music streaming service. An announcement about the acquisition could come next week, according to the Financial Times.
Beats Electronics was founded in 2008 by hip-hop producer Andre ‘Dr. Dre’ Young and record label chairman Jimmy Iovine. It began with the Beats by Dre line of headphones, which became extremely popular, capturing a 40 percent share in the U.S. headphone market by 2012. The success is largely credited to Young and other artists who threw their support behind the headphones. The headphones are priced from under $100 to nearly $400 and are often faked. They are sold at Apple Stores.
The company then expanded to Beats Audio, which provides audio engines and sound systems for other devices. It’s been included in HP laptops, some smartphones and in Chrysler cars starting in 2011.
Beats launched a curated streaming music service called Beats Music, which directly competes with iTunes and Spotify but focuses on its music suggestion algorithm. According to the Financial Times, revenues for subscription services like Beats Music grew 50 percent to $1.1 billion last year. Apple launched a streaming radio service through iTunes aptly named iTunes Radio in September 2013, which more directly competes with services like Pandora.