Apple has bought 24 companies in past 18 months,
it was recently disclosed, and more deals are likely on the way, with Tim Cook,
the CEO, describing Apple as "on the prowl" for potential acquisitions
that make sense. Cook's comments coincide with news reports that Apple is
seeking to bolster its streaming-music business with a proposed $3.2bn deal to
acquire Beats Electronics LLC, the high-end headphone maker that recently
launched the Beats Music subscription service, according to people familiar with
the matter - - Beats Electronics LLC is a privately held US firm and Beats
Electronics Holding Limited, an Irish offshore tax avoidance company that is
domiciled in Jersey, Channel Islands, is the owner of the international
The Financial Times reports that Apple is closing
in on its largest acquisition with the planned $3.2bn 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 FT says that a decade after Steve Jobs
transformed the music industry with the iTunes download store and the iPod
digital music player, the deal is likely to be seen as an admission that Apple
needs to look outside its Cupertino labs to continue making an impact.
While Beats commands a leading position in the premium headphone market, its
real value to Apple is in revitalising its “cool” at a time when iTunes has
waned in popularity and Samsung’s marketing campaigns have savaged the iPhone’s
The newspaper says that Apple executives have admitted that its brand is in need
of a revamp. Internal emails released during its recent patent trial with
Samsung showed that its marketing chief Phil Schiller considered changing
Apple’s ad agency after the success of its Korean rival’s “next big thing”
The Wall Street Journal reports that Carlyle
Group would be a big winner in Apple Inc's possible acquisition of
headphone-maker Beats Electronics.
The private-equity firm paid about $500m for just under 50% of the headphone
maker last year.
If Apple follows through on its reported $3bn-plus deal for Beats, Carlyle’s
take would be upward of $1.5bn, or about $1bn profit.
Not bad for a seven-month-old investment, and surely support for Carlyle’s
growing interest in taking large minority stakes in companies as control
investments become more difficult to come by, and more expensive.
Late last month speaking during his company's
quarterly earnings conference call, Tim Cook told analysts that Apple is on the
lookout for companies with talented employees and "great technology." But a key
factor for those acquisitions is that they "fit culturally," the CEO said.
Cook also said that Apple considers whether its acquisitions will make sense and
add value for shareholders over the long haul before the company goes through
with a purchase.
"We are not in a race to spend the most or acquire the most," he said. "We're in
a race to make the best products that enrich people's lives."
Apple has usually acquired smaller companies in
strategic deals, never having spent more than $1bn on any acquisition but Cook
said that could change, if it were the right deal.
"We don't have a rule that says we can't spend a lot or whatever," Cook said.
"We'll spend what we think is a fair price."
HTC of Taiwan, the smartphone maker, bought 50.1%
of Beats Electronics in 2011 for $309m and in 2012, it sold back half it stake
to the co-founders.
Beats Electronics Holding Limited had revenues of
$1724m in 2012 and profit before tax of $8,2m.
It paid the Irish Revenue $537,563 in tax even
though its presence in Ireland is only as a mailbox company.
OECD BEPS Project: Ireland should embrace corporate tax reform --
including how Apple and rappers like Dr Dre are able to benefit from Ireland's