Apple pays $3bn for Beats headphones and music

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Technology group Apple is to make the most expensive acquisition in its history after confirming a deal to buy Dr Dre’s Beats Electronics for $3 billion (£1.8bn).

The headphone brand and its music streaming service was co-founded by music mogul Jimmy Iovine and US rapper and producer Dr Dre, who reportedly called himself the “first billionaire in hip hop”.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said the main selling point of the deal was Beats Music, the music streaming subsidiary of the electronics maker which launched this year and has more than 250,000 subscribers.

Sales of songs and albums online, a business dominated by iTunes for the past decade, have started to reduce as the popularity of music streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify grows.

Beats was founded in 2008 by Dr Dre and Iovine, a veteran record industry executive who is currently chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope Geffen A&M Records. Both will become key executives in Apple’s music divisions.

Cook said: “Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple.

“That’s why we have kept investing in music and are bringing together these extraordinary teams so we can continue to create the most innovative music products and services in the world.”