【英语财经】苹果30亿美元收购Beats Apple buys Beats Electronics for $3bn

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2014-5-29 21:39

小艾摘要: Apple has sealed its biggest ever acquisition with the $3bn purchase of Beats Electronics, a deal that reshapes the music landscape and gives the company new heft in digital streaming.News of the deal ...
Apple buys Beats Electronics for $3bn
Apple has sealed its biggest ever acquisition with the $3bn purchase of Beats Electronics, a deal that reshapes the music landscape and gives the company new heft in digital streaming.

News of the deal stunned music and technology watchers when it was first reported earlier this month by the Financial Times, because it broke with Apple’s long-standing convention of developing its technology in-house.

However, Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, stressed the importance of music to a company that was revived by the success of the iPod.

“It’s all about music,” Mr Cook told the FT at an interview in the company’s Cupertino headquarters, adding that Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine, the music producer, and Dr Dre, the hip-hop legend, were “kindred spirits”. Mr Iovine and Dr Dre will join Apple as part of the deal.

The deal is made up of $2.6bn in cash and about $400m in Apple stock, which will vest over time, and is expected to be completed by the end of September 2014, pending regulatory approval.

Mr Cook stressed the significance to the deal of Beats’ streaming service. Beats launched its subscription service in January with an emphasis on personal music “curation”, rather than on playlists that are selected by using algorithms.

“We’ve got a streaming service that we believe is the first to get it right,” Mr Cook told the FT. “They had the insight that human curation was very important?.?.?.?we think they’ve done an A plus job.”

Beats was superior to rival streaming services, he added. “Some of them are no more than a random set of songs put together.”

Founded in 2008, Beats makes most of its money from its speakers and premium-priced headphones, which are beloved by musicians and sports stars, generating revenues in 2013 of $1.1bn.

The deal has been hailed by the music industry because of the boost it gives to the streaming business model.

“It is the most significant platform transformation that we have had for 30 years,” said Lucian Grainge, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company. Subscription streaming generates “high quality, recurring income”, he added.

Will.i.am, the recording artist and entrepreneur, told the FT the deal was “transformational?.?.?.?it redefines our industry”.

Apple now has more than $150bn in its cash reserves but faces slowing revenue growth. The purchase represents a huge premium over the $1.8bn valuation of Beats less than a year ago, and marks a swift return for Carlyle, the private equity firm which invested about $500m for a 30 per cent stake, said one person familiar with that deal.

苹果(Apple)已敲定以30亿美元收购音乐流媒体服务供应商Beats Electronics。这是苹果迄今规模最大的一次收购,它将改变音乐行业的格局,提升苹果在数字流媒体领域的影响力。

当英国《金融时报》本月早些时候首次报道这笔交易时,这则消息震惊了音乐界和科技界观察人士,因为它背离了苹果的长期传统,即坚持在内部开发技术,而不是从外部获取。

然而,苹果首席执行官蒂姆?库克(Tim Cook)强调了音乐对苹果的重要性。苹果当年就是靠iPod的成功迎来了复苏。

库克在苹果位于加州库比提诺的总部接受英国《金融时报》采访时表示:“这完全关乎音乐。”他补充称, Beats联席创始人、音乐制作人吉米?艾欧文(Jimmy Iovine)和美国说唱传奇明星安德烈?罗米尔?扬(Dr. Dre)“志同道合”。作为交易的一部分,艾欧文和罗米尔?扬将加盟苹果。

这笔交易将以26亿美元现金和约4亿美元的苹果股票支付,预计将于2014年9月底完成,目前正等待监管方的批准。

今年4月,库克曾表示,苹果在过去18个月内完成了24笔并购。他周三告诉英国《金融时报》,如今这一数字已升至27笔,并将继续增加。

库克表示:“我们既考察过规模大得多的企业,也关注过规模小的多的公司。我们一直以来的战略没有改变:我们会寻找那些在重要领域已占据了战略地位的公司,而我们认为在那些领域我们未来能有更大作为。”

库克强调了Beats流媒体服务对这笔交易的重要性。今年1月,Beats推出订阅服务,由真人向订阅者推荐歌曲,而不是通过一些算法猜测订阅者的喜好,至今已吸引了25万付费订阅用户。

库克说,Beats要比其他流媒体服务更为优秀,“其中一些只不过是随机将歌曲集合到一起。”

Beats创建于2008年,多数收入来自扬声器和高价耳机产品,这些产品深受音乐人和运动明星的喜爱,2013年的收入为11亿美元。

Beats的耳机业务将向苹果营销主管菲尔?席勒(Phil Schiller)汇报。它的音乐业务将向苹果互联网软件和服务部门高级副总裁艾迪?库伊(Eddy Cue)汇报。

这笔交易受到音乐界的欢迎,因为它将推动流媒体这种业务模式的发展。

全球最大音乐公司环球音乐(Universal Music Group)董事长兼首席执行官卢西恩?格兰奇(Lucian Grainge)表示:“这是30年来最为重大的平台改革。”他补充称,流媒体订阅服务将带来“高质量和源源不断的收入”。

黑眼豆豆(Black Eyed Peas)成员、企业家Will.i.am告诉英国《金融时报》,这笔交易“具有变革意义……它将重新界定我们的行业”。

苹果拥有逾1500亿美元的现金储备,但面临收入增速放缓的局面。这笔交易较Beats不到一年前的18亿美元估值有巨大溢价,而且意味着私人股本公司凯雷(Carlyle)能快速获得回报——据一名知情人士称,凯雷曾斥资约5亿美元购入了Beats 30%的股权。

人们或许很难将罗米尔?扬与库克的关系描述为“志同道合”,但艾欧文与苹果的关系要回溯到iTunes推出的初期,当时史蒂夫?乔布斯(Steve Jobs)向艾欧文展示了苹果当时非常创新的音乐下载服务的早期雏形。

译者/梁艳裳

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