Apple has officially announced that it has acquired Beats Electronics, and the Beats Music streaming service, for a total outlay of $3 billion (£1.8 billion) – subject to the usual regulatory approval jazz.
Rumours of the deal broke at the start of May (though the figure mentioned was $3.2 billion, or £1.9 billion), and as per another rumour which turned out to be spot on, Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr Dre have been confirmed to be joining Apple as execs. The pair will work under Eddy Cue, Cupertino's senior VP of Internet Software and Services.
Of the purchase price, $2.6 billion (£1.55 billion) was splashed on Beats Electronics, and $400 million (£240 million) on the Beats streaming service.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, commented: "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."
Eddy Cue added: "The addition of Beats will make our music line-up even better, from free streaming with iTunes Radio to a world-class subscription service in Beats, and of course buying music from the iTunes Store as customers have loved to do for years."
Beats hardware such as headphones and speakers will be pushed worldwide in Apple's online and bricks-and-mortar stores, of course, as well as Apple authorised resellers. Cupertino also stressed how trendy the hardware is, name-dropping concerning those who have designed their own Beats gear in the music world (Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj) and fashion arena (Alexander Wang).
As we've previously discussed, part of Apple's reason for this particular move is to lend its name some fresh credibility; Cupertino's big enemy right now is the looming prospect that the Apple brand is starting to be viewed as stale. New products later this year, of course, should go a long way to curing that perception...
Exactly what Cupertino is planning to do on the hardware front with Beats tech – jazz up its Earpods for one thing, is a fair bet – and indeed with Beats Music and how the streaming service will slot in with iTunes, is unclear at this point. But what is clear is the gravity of this move – Apple normally only makes small purchases, and this is its biggest acquisition ever by a long shot.
Apple said it expects the transaction to close in its fiscal fourth quarter, pending the usual box-ticking from regulators. As for Dr Dre, he expects to become the "first billionaire in hip hop", as was previously mentioned in a video on YouTube, though it's not clear yet if he'll quite make that mark.