By Dow Jones Business News,
May 09, 2014, 10:52:00 PM EDT
By Hannah Karp and Daisuke Wakabayashi
Music mogul Jimmy Iovine gravitates to the limelight in a way that previously might have made him ill-suited to
work at Apple Inc., which historically had one face: Steve Jobs.
But as Apple completes a deal to buy headphone and streaming-service company Beats Electronics LLC from Mr. Iovine
and his co-founder, rap star Dr. Dre, both men are likely to take senior positions with the Cupertino, Calif., tech
company, according to people familiar with the matter, commuting from the Los Angeles area to Silicon Valley--or
meetings elsewhere--as needed.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Iovine and Mr. Young declined to comment.
Though the details of the men's potential Apple assignments remain unclear, the mere possibility underscores how
Apple's corporate culture has loosened under the leadership of Mr. Jobs's successor, Chief Executive Tim Cook. Though
Mr. Iovine and Dr. Dre--whose real name is Andre Young--would likely be the coolest kids by a long shot on Apple's
campus, they aren't the first big personalities Mr. Cook has welcomed to Apple headquarters from flashier industries.
Last year he hired former Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts to run retail, for example. He also posed for the cover of
Bloomberg Businessweek with Apple executives Jonathan Ive and Craig Federighi--a display that would have been
unthinkable in the Jobs era, when Apple's products were the only other stars permitted to shine.
Assuming Apple seals the deal to buy Beats, Mr. Iovine will leave his longtime post as chairman of Interscope
Geffen A&M records, a division of Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, according to a person familiar with the matter,
though it isn't clear how soon he would depart. Universal, which owns a 14% stake in Beats and would reap roughly $500
million from a $3.2 billion acquisition, is likely to let Mr. Iovine split before his contract expires early next year.
Interscope President John Janick, 35 years old, has for more than 18 months been overseeing day-to-day operations
at the label while Mr. Iovine focused his attention on Beats and other ventures such as his role on "American Idol." In
2013, Mr. Janick guided the label through its most profitable year on record.
Mr. Iovine, 61, may not have landed a gig at Apple under Mr. Jobs, but the two were close friends, and Mr. Jobs was
sometimes a house guest at Mr. Iovine's Los Angeles home. Among the acts Mr. Iovine has produced are Tom Petty, Patti
Smith and U2, for whom he helped win a deal to create a specially designed iPod preloaded with the band's music.
While Mr. Iovine's rock-star temperament could still ruffle some feathers in tech-centric Cupertino, it may help
Apple broker deals in the music industry and appeal to the younger consumers who gravitate to Beats headphones.
He has been just as creative as a deal maker. After co-founding Interscope in 1990 with retail and media heir Ted
Field and Time Warner Inc., he wrested away Time Warner's 50% share of the fast-growing label five years later for a
discounted price of $115 million, after a Time Warner shareholder complained that Interscope's "gangsta rap" was
offensive. Mr. Iovine resold that same stake a year later for $200 million to MCA Records, which was eventually absorbed
by what is now Universal Music.
Mr. Iovine and Mr. Young, who co-founded Beats in Santa Monica, Calif., in 2006, profited again after selling a
50.1% stake in Beats Electronics to Taiwan's HTC Corp. for around $300 million, only to buy back half of what they sold
a year later for around $150 million--a discount given Beats' substantial growth in the intervening months.
The pending Apple deal is the richest of them all, a $3.2 billion payday for Mr. Iovine and his backers that Dr.
Dre has already proclaimed on YouTube will make him "the first billionaire in hip-hop."
Write to Hannah Karp at firstname.lastname@example.org and Daisuke Wakabayashi at Daisuke.Wakabayashi@wsj.com
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