Apple's Beats Buy Drawing Mixed Reviews On Wall Street
Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) $3 billion plan to acquire streaming-music and headphone maker Beats Electronics is getting mixed reviews from analysts.
"The strategic vision seems lacking," Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves said, adding that Apple has the in-house ability to build a streaming music business, and currently, no similar operation is profitable.
"We struggle to see the value," Bank of America analyst Scott Craig said, calling the transaction neutral. "The deal seems out of line with Apple's history of acquisitions of technology."
Baird is more positive: "We view the additions of Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre to the Apple executive team as a positive infusion of talent," Baird's William V. Power said in a note.
Evercore's Robert Cihra said Apple is acquiring Beats "for the intangibles."
The price tag is "steep" in Cihra's view. But "it was inevitable and necessary" that Apple complement its iTunes with a subscription service to compete with Spotify and Pandora.
The deal is a "defensive" move, according to Wells Fargo analyst Maynard Um, who worries the deal is excessively focused on near-term strategy.
Indeed, Pandora may view the development as a "modest threat" according to Corey Barrett, analyst with Pacific Crest.
Making a rebranded Beats Radio service available on a range of devices could produce a headwind for Pandora, but "that it would represent a significant departure from Apple's long-standing walled-garden approach," said Barrett.
Apple closed Thursday at $635.38, up over 11 percent.
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