Apple is very close to acquiring Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. That news comes from The Financial Times, and has been corroborated by a number of other media outlets.

The talks are reportedly in the late stages, and the deal could be announced as early as next week. If the deal goes through, it would be Apple’s largest acquisition ever.

It would also be a big contrast to Apple’s usual strategy of acquiring smaller companies for specific technology.

Beats Electronics was founded by music producer Jimmy Iovine and rap star Dr. Dre.

For the huge sum, Apple would be getting a company well known for its popular line of headphones. Even though the brand isn’t taken seriously by audiophiles, Dr. Dre’s involvement has made Beats headphones a staple of music fans.

Probably more important is Beats streaming music service. Launched earlier this year, Beats Music has entered a crowded market to compete against Rdio, Spotify, and others.

After a bumpy start, the service seemed to find its footing and has topped the App Store’s music charts. An update in April allowed users to subscribe to the $9.99 per month service directly from the app. And last week, version 2.0 of the app arrived with support for the iPad/iPad mini.

And Apple and Beats have had prior history together. Reports early last year said Apple was considering a partnership with Beats on a music streaming service. Apple decided to forge ahead without Beats and launched iTunes Radio a few months later.

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