updated 10:56 am EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
Source says Apple after talent, cultural cachet still happening, but was close to disintegrating
Apple is indeed still planning to buy Beats Electronics, according to unnamed sources, but the deal has allegedly almost fallen apart several times. The person claims that there is a "70 percent certainty" the buyout will happen. Notably, the person claims that Apple isn't after Beats Music, speakers, or headphones, but rather talent and cultural cachet. "[Apple] wants Jimmy [Iovine] and they want [Dr.] Dre," the person says. "[Iovine]'s got fashion and culture completely locked up."
In addition to running Beats, Iovine has a long-running history as a label chief, record producer and industry executive, and also has a reputation for being aggressive in media negotiations. Together with Dr. Dre -- perhaps the best-known name in rap -- Apple may feel it can buy its way into further youth appeal, despite already being by far the most popular youth brand. Beyond bringing the Beats brand, Iovine's negotiation skills may allow Apple to score key music deals for iTunes.
The source suggests that picking up Iovine and Dre may also be consistent with Apple's recent hirings of uniquely specialized and culturally-tuned people from other industries, like Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, Leica engineer Ari Partinen, Nike's Ben Shaffer, and Yves St. Laurent CEO Paul Deneve.
Rumors have circulated that Samsung tried to buy Beats, but those talks are said to have broken up "earlier in the year."