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Apple on verge of buying Beats for US$3.2 bil.: report

SAN FRANCISCO -- Apple is orchestrating a US$3.2 billion acquisition of Beats Electronics, the headphone maker and music streaming distributor founded by hip-hop star Dr. Dre and record producer Jimmy Iovine, according to a published report.

Citing people familiar with the negotiations, The Financial Times says Apple could announce the deal as early as next week. In its report posted online late Thursday, the newspaper warned the talks could still collapse if the two sides can't agree on some final details.

Both Apple Inc. and Beats Electronics declined to comment to The Associated Press.

The potential acquisition would add Beats Electronics' popular line of headphones and music streaming service to an Apple line-up that already includes digital music players and the iTunes store, the world's top music retailer.

If the deal is completed, it would be by far the largest purchase in Apple Inc.'s 38-year history.

The Cupertino company has traditionally seen little need to buy technology from other companies, reflecting Apple's confidence in its ability to turn its own ideas into revolutionary products such as the Mac computer, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad.

But Apple hasn't released a breakthrough product since its former CEO and chief visionary, Steve Jobs, died in October 2011. The innovative void has increased the pressure on Jobs' hand-picked successor, Tim Cook, to prove he is capable of sustaining the success and growth that turned Apple into the world's most valuable company and a beloved brand.

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