Beats Electronics LLC (Beats), the audio brand co-founded by legendary artist and producer Dr. Dre and Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman Jimmy Iovine, announced today that The Carlyle Group (NASDAQ:CG), the global alternative asset manager, has agreed to make a minority investment in Beats. Carlyle will work with the Beats management team to continue expanding the brand and building the business both domestically and internationally. Additional terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013, were not disclosed.
Beats also announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to reacquire the minority stake in Beats held by HTC Corp. As a result, HTC will no longer have any ownership stake in Beats.
Beats Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Iovine said, “These transactions represent the evolution of the financial strength and significant growth prospects of Beats. Carlyle is a fantastic investment partner and we look forward to building the next chapter of Beats.”
Carlyle Managing Director and Head of Consumer and Retail Sandra Horbach said, “We are confident that Beats will continue to drive innovation and growth in the premium audio accessory market, particularly as the proliferation of smart phones and tablets stimulate increased consumption of digital media. Carlyle has a strong history of helping great brands expand globally, and we are thrilled to partner with Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and their talented management and product teams.”
In 2006, Iovine and Dre set out to solve the problem of poor sound quality caused by the digital revolution combined with the proliferation of cheap earbuds bundled with MP3 players, laptops, mobile phones and other portable devices. Their solution was Beats Electronics. Formally established in 2008, Beats comprises the Beats by Dr. Dre family of premium consumer headphones, earphones, and speakers as well as patented Beats Audio software technology. Through these offerings, Beats has effectively brought the energy, emotion and excitement of playback in the recording studio to the listening experience. This has introduced an entirely new generation to the possibilities of premium sound entertainment. Beats currently maintains a greater than 64% percent market share of the $100+ premium headphone category in North America according to data provided by NPD Group and also reaches consumers through product partnerships that include Chrysler Group automobiles, Hewlett Packard computers and monitors, and HTC smartphones.