Apple acquires Beats Music and Beats Electronics for $3 billion

Apple has today confirmed the acquisition of Beats Music and Beats Electronics, taking both the music streaming service and the headphone and speaker hardware business.

The acquisition will cost Apple $3 billion, of which $2.6 billion is the purchase price, with $400 million future investment.

The Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple.

"The addition of Beats will make our music lineup 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," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services.

It's been weeks since several reports and even a significant hint from Dr. Dre suggesting Apple wanted to buy Beats Electronics. Much speculation has swirled around in an attempt to explain why Apple has taken so long to make an announcement. 

Today, however, the deal is official, with Tim Cook, Apple's CEO saying: "Music is such an important part of all of our lives and holds a special place within our hearts at Apple."

Apple says that Beats products will be available in a more countries thanks to Apple's retail outlets, both online and on the high street.

"I've always known in my heart that Beats belonged with Apple," said Jimmy Iovine.

"The idea when we started the company was inspired by Apple's unmatched ability to marry culture and technology. Apple's deep commitment to music fans, artists, songwriters and the music industry is something special."

The deal will be subject to the usual regulatory approval, with Apple expecting it to close in Q4 2014.