May 19, 2014

Apple proposed acquisition of Beats

Last week Apple announced that it is in advanced talks to pay $3.2 billion to acquire headphone maker and music-streaming service Beats Electronic (co-founded by hip hop artist Dr. Dre and music executive Jimmy Iovine).

There is a tendency to develop extreme observations and make profound conclusions based on every bit of corporate news (no matter how insignificant), particularly as it relates to some of our larger and higher-profiled publicly held companies.

Some of the hyperbolic responses and explanations for the proposed transaction of Beats by Apple are downright silly. I have heard everything from the acquisition is an attempt to launch Apple into the apparel business to this is a way in which Apple will get Jimmy Iovine involved with the company.

My bottom line is that the $3.2 billion transaction is largely irrelevant due to the scale of Apple's market capitalization ($505 billion); sales ($180 billion); cash ($150 billion); earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ($65 billion); total assets (above $200 billion); sustainable yearly gross profits ($65 billion) and earnings power; annual capital spend; and so forth.

In light of the fact that the $3.2 billion Apple will spend on Beats is earning nothing in the bank, the deal is slightly accretive.

Beats quality product image is consistent with the Apple brand.

The deal will not move Apple's needle, though. It is not, as described in this ABC coverage, a mega deal.

Nor is the transaction transformative to Apple.

The Beats acquisition is neither a change in strategy nor a statement of floundering innovation within Apple. The Beats acquisition is a rounding error for Apple.

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