HTC's Beats by Dr. Dre in talks to buy MOG
Upscale headphone maker Beats by Dr. Dre is in talks to buy subscription music service MOG, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday.
Beats' owner, Taiwanese cellphone maker HTC, is looking to create a music offering that combines its mobile devices, Beats' headphones and MOG's all-you-can-listen streaming plan, said the person, who was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
News of the possible acquisition was earlier reported by Business Insider.
MOG Chief Executive David Hyman declined to comment. HTC dismissed earlier reports as rumor and speculation.
Last August, HTC announced it was paying $300 million for a 51 percent stake in Beats Electronics LLC, a company headed by rapper and producer Dr. Dre and recording executive Jimmy Iovine.
The maker of handsets that work on Google Inc.'s Android platform has been struggling with intense competition from Samsung Electronics Co. and iPhone maker Apple Inc. HTC said its profit fell 26 percent in the final quarter of last year.
MOG has also struggled to gain subscribers in the face of established music subscription service Rhapsody and Sweden's Spotify. MOG's paying subscribers are estimated to be in the tens of thousands compared to more than a million for Rhapsody in the U.S. and 3 million for Spotify worldwide.
Each service offers unlimited music streaming on portable devices for $10 per month and a range of free trial offers to get customers hooked.
MOG was founded in 2005 and counts Universal Music Group and Sony Music among its investors. Along with its subscription music plan, the company operates a series of music blog sites that attract more than 60 million visitors a month.