If Apple buys Beats Electronics for $3.2bn, will Dr Dre become hip hop's first billionaire?

The reports that Apple is looking to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion has got people wondering: could the deal make founder Dr Dre hip hop’s first billionaire?

The answer is ‘probably’ with a slice of ‘we’re not quite sure’ on the side.

A recent ranking by Forbes of the wealthiest rappers in 2014 estimated that Dr Dre’s net worth was $550 million - just behind Sean Combs (aka Puff Daddy) who took the top spot with a cool $700m (Jay Z came third with an estimated $520m).

This means that Dre would need only an additional $450 to make it into the billionaire boys club (sic) a sum that’s roughly equal to a 15 per cent stake in Beats Electronics if the $3.2 billion valuation holds true.

The problem is we don’t know exactly how much of a stake Dre holds in Beats Electronics. The rapper founded the company with Interscope exec Jimmy Iovine back in 2008, and previous estimates have put the founders’ stake at approximately 25 per cent apiece.

Beats by Dr Dre - the favourite headphones of the image-conscious but looked down on by audiophiles.

However, numerous deals since then have muddied the waters. In August 2011 Taiwanese phone manufacturer bought 51 per cent of the company before selling back half this stake in July 2012.

It’s been reported that their remaining 25.1 per cent makes them the largest single stakeholder, but this still leaves plenty of room for Dre to claim more than the 15 per cent stake necessary to make the billion.

Despite all this though we still can’t say for certain whether the deal will go through.

Beats have done a lot to make the ‘premium’ headphones a thing (they control 57 per cent of the pricier end of the market) and their music streaming service certainly has far more youth appeal than Apple’s iRadio, but some analysts are still doubtful – especially given the fact that a $500m investment by the Carlyle Group in September 2013 only valued the company at $1bn, a third of what Apple might be paying.

So will Dr Dre become hip-hop’s first billionaire? We're not sure, but if he does it’ll be business sense, not street cred, that gets him there. 

Update: A video posted by Tyrese Gibson last night apparently 'confirms' the deal, with Gibson posting (before the story broke) a video of himself celebrating with Dre with the caption "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!!!!" Click here to watch (warning, NSFW language)

Double update: The video has been deleted!

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Graduate BI Consultant (Business Intelligence) - London

    £24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...

    Service Delivery Manager (Product Manager, Test and Deployment)

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Service Delivery Manager (Product Ma...

    Technical Product Marketing Specialist - London - £70,000

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Cloud Product and Solutions Marketin...

    Trainee Helpdesk Analyst / 1st Line Application Support Analyst

    £18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam