Yesterday evening, rumors were swirling around the tech world: Apple was nearing a $3.2 billion deal to purchase the company Beats Electronics. The deal, first reported by the Financial Times, would include the sale of Beats Music (the streaming music subscription service) along with the company's actual hardware: a popular brand of headphones and speakers. No comments or confirmations have been made.
The official announcement could come as early as next week. If it is confirmed, it will make it Apple's largest acquisition. While companies like Facebook, Google and Yahoo have made several large purchases (and made a big spectacle of them), Apple is known for a more subtle approach.
According to Businessweek, Apple is known to acquire smaller companies, which it can easily absorb. (For example: Did you know Apple bought SnappyLabs in January of this year? In a statement about that acquisition Apple told Re/Code, "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.")
According to the Verge, Apple's largest purchase to date was NeXT computer in 1997. NeXT brought Steve Jobs back to Apple, and was purchased for $404 million (adjusted for inflation that is $600 million). The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was "on the prowl."
“We’re not anti- getting a big company,” Cook said in an interview in late April. “What we’re anti- doing is doing something that’s not strategic.” The company, he said, had acquired 24 companies over the last 18 months, but was "not looking to pay the most and get the most buzz out of it.”
Yet, buzz is what they're getting in this yet-unconfirmed deal -- and social media attention too. Last night the actor Tyrese Gibson posted a video to Facebook, with the caption:
"How did I end up in the studio with Dr Dre ON THE night his deal went public that he did with Apple 3.2 BILLION!!!!! The BEATS HEADPHONES JUST CHANGED HIP HOP!!!!!!"
The Verge is reporting that the post has been taken down, but not before being captured on YouTube. In the video (warning: it is laced with expletives), Gibson tells Forbes to update its billionaire list, and Dre calls himself the "first billionaire in hip-hop."