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Apple in Talks to Buy the Beats Headphone Company

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Apple is reported to be in talks that could see it paying as much as USD3.2 billion to buy the Beats headphone manufacturer.

The move would be the headphone to music streaming brand's second attempt at a deal with a handset manufacturer, as it recently pulled out of an agreement with Taiwan's HTC.

HTC bought a 50.1% stake in the headphone company in 2011 for US$300 million in an attempt to bolster its reputation for high quality speakers in its smartphones. The deal proved unsuccessful though, and HTC sold half the stake back a year later for US$150 million.

Late last year, it sold the rest back to the company for USD415 million, valuing the firm at around USD1.2 billion.

The headphone company has long been said to be looking for fresh investors to support the company's expansion plans.

The headphone manufacturer was founded by music producer Jimmy Iovine and the hip-hop star Dr Dre, and while best known for its range of branded headphones, has recently launched a music streaming service of its own.

That music service is seen as a competitor to Apple, but it is not seen as a significant one at the moment. Any deal with Apple is likely to be for the company's hardware, and its brandname.

The move would however be a major step for Apple to acquire a company that is very strongly associated with an existing brandname as Apple would struggle to simply embed its products into the Apple portfolio under its own label.

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Tags: apple  beats