US hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre has appeared to confirm a $3.2 billion (£1.9 billion) deal with Apple for Beats Electronics, the six-year-old company behind his fashion-focused headphones and portable speakers.
In a video posted on Facebook by actor and singer Tyrese Gibson on the day rumours of the deal emerged, Dre tells the camera: "The first billionaire in hip-hop, right here from the West Coast.”
The company, which makes products under the brand Beats by Dr. Dre, was founded in 2008 by the 49-year-old rap star and his mentor, music producer Jimmy Iovine.
Focusing on headphones with a distinctive look, advanced noise-cancelling capabilities and a bass-heavy sound, Beats quickly cornered the market in premium headphones.
Bulky, bright, and all stamped with a 'b' logo, the headphones also grew in popularity thanks to endorsements from music, sport and showbiz stars. Last year fashion designer Alexander Wang created a limited-edition pale gold and matte black collection for the firm
In 2012, Beats accounted for 64% of headphones selling for more than $100 in the US, retail analysts NPD Group said. The company was valued at more than $1 billion (£620 million) last year.
How did I end up in the studio with Dr Dre ON THE night his deal went public that he did with Apple 3.2 BILLION!!!! The BEATS HEADPHONES JUST CHANGED HIP HOP!!!!!
There have been raised eyebrows among some technology analysts over Apple's potential purhase.
“This is really puzzling,” Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey sais. “You buy companies today to get technologies that no one else has… or customers that no one has.”
“They must have something hidden… under the hood.”
It has been suggested that Apple's focus may be on merging Beats Electronics' music streaming service Beats Music with it's own, iRadio.
Beats Music focuses on playlists devised by a selection of high-profile artists and publications.
Beats Electronics does not release information on Dr. Dre's stake in the company, but as a majority owner, he is expected to see a healthy return if the deal goes ahead.
He will be propelled to the top of the Forbes list on hip-hop’s wealthiest artists - which last week placed Sean Combes, aka P-Diddy, at the top, with a net worth of about $700 million.