Apple-Beats deal gets the nod from Europe

The European Commission saw no major barriers to the iPhone and iPad maker snapping up the headphone and music subscription service for $3 billion in cash and stock.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
Image: Apple

The European Commission has approved Apple's acquisition of Beats for $3 billion in cash and stock.

On Monday, the Brussels-based executive body said in a statement that the merging of the two businesses "did not raise competition concerns because the combined market share of Apple and Beats Electronics is low."

It also said that the two companies are "not close competitors" because the headphones they sell are markedly different in functionality and design.

Apple bought the company in May for $2.6 billion in cash and $400 million in stock, after weeks and months of rumors. Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple as mid-level executives deal, Apple said in a statement at the time.

Also scrutinized was the streaming service Apple would acquire as part of the deal, which was said to have raised eyebrows across the music industry. The Commission said that though Apple's iTunes is available in Europe's 28 member states, Beats is currently not.

"The Commission concluded that Apple faces several competitors in the EEA such as Spotify and Deezer, making it implausible that the acquisition of a smaller streaming service that is not active in [Europe] would lead to anticompetitive effects," the statement read.

So long as the deal does not result in Apple shutting out the streaming services from access to its iOS platform, the deal was cleared.

Chief executive Tim Cook said on the company's third-quarter earnings conference call that he expects the Apple-Beats deal to close in this fiscal quarter, ending mid-September.

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