Osborne Clarke wins spot among roster of US firms on Apple’s Beats acquisition

Osborne Clarke advised headphone-maker and music platform Beats on its $3bn buyout by Apple, joining a raft of stateside firms on the huge tech transaction.

The sale comprises both streaming service Beats Music and Beats Electronic which produces luxury headphones and other audio devices. As part of the transaction Beats two co-founders, rapper and producer Andre ‘Dr Dre’ Young and recording industry mogul James Iovine, will join Apple. 

Partner Steve Wilson, who heads up Osborne Clarke’s Silicon Valley office, advised longstanding client Beats on its sale. 

The firm worked alongside the LA office of Californian firm Munger Tolles & Olsene, which fielded corporate partner Brett Rodda and associates Jesse Creed and Sarah Graham on the deal. 

Young and Iovine, along with other Beats shareholers, turned to Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom. Corporate partner Brian McCarthy, who heads up the firm’s LA office, led for the firm. 

Meanwhile, Apple turned to Weil Gotshal & Manges’ Silicon Valley partner Kyle Krpata on its largest-ever purchase. 

Formally established in 2008, Beats is best known for its luxury headphones, but earlier this year also launched a new music streaming platform, enabling customers to listen to music for a monthly fee. 

It has been reported that Apple acquired 27 companies since October 2012, but none of the value of its latest acquisition. It is thought that the company’s second biggest buy to date was Steve Jobs’ NeXT Computer in 1997 for just over $400m. 

Background to this deal 

Osborne Clarke is thought to have a close relationship with Dr Dre’s Beats, stemming largely from the firm’s Silicon Valley office. 

Munger Tolles & Olsene has also worked with Beats in the past. Last year the firm advised on The Carlyle Group’s investment into the business, and Beats’ acquisistion of a minority stake held by HTC Corp. It also assisted with a $60m investment to develop spin-off company Daisy into a leading music streaming provider. 

Weil already has close ties with Apple. In 2011, Krpata advised the media giant on its massive $4.5bn section 363 auction bid for a portfolio of 6000 patents and patent applications of bankrupt tech company Nortel Networks.

In recent years, Apple has also been known to instuct firms including Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and WilmerHale on contentious matters.