In another stark break with its Steve Jobs past, Apple is in talks to buy Beats for $3.2 billion — the largest acquisition in the company's storied history

In another stark break with its Steve Jobs past, Apple is purportedly in talks to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. If true, the acquisition would be by far Apple’s biggest to date.

Tim Cook let it slip that Apple purchased 24 companies over the last 18 months. However, it is highly unlikely all of those companies together cost $1 bill let alone $3.2 billion.

“In terms of acquisitions, Apple has been very, very light in their activity,” said Richard Lane, analyst at Moody’s. “I don’t think they’ve spent $1 billion in any of the last four years.”

Still, with roughly $159 billion in the bank, Apple will have plenty o’ cash to splash around even if it does buy Beats.

Beats: Premium Audio Price

In September 2013, a scant nine months ago, Beats took a $500 investment from Carlyle, which set the value of the premium audio device and services vendor at $1 billion.

Since then, Beats rolled out an audio streaming service along the lines of Spotify. The service, which costs $9.99 a month, is already in its second iteration and available on the iOS, Android and Windows Phone platforms.

Apple has dabbled in music streaming with iTunes Radio. However, it has been widely rumored the company wants to push further into the category in order to compensate for falling music downloads.

Last year, it’s believed that the iTunes Music Store experienced the first drop in downloads since its 2013 launch.

Is that it? Apple’s buying Beats and its music streaming licenses? Could be. In that scheme of things, Beats physical products, technologies and patents would just be icing on the cake.

So, is Steve Jobs smiling down from heaven or spinning in his grave? This certainly isn’t his Apple anymore…

What’s your take?

Via: ModMyi, Source: Financial Times gets credit for breaking the story, but they’ve got a paywall, so CNBC gets the link.