Judging by a roundup in The Wall Street Journal, analysts and investors appear not to share the enthusiasm for Beats acquisition express by Tim Cook and Eddy Cue. While Cook said he was “excited [...] about this new chapter in our history” and Cue believed that “combining the two companies will help [music] grow again,” Wall Street is more skeptical.
“To see this kind of money spent for a company that gets most of its revenue from hardware business is not what we want to see,” said Dan Niles, chief investment officer of hedge fund AlphaOne Capital Partners …
Patrick Becker Jr., portfolio manager at Becker Capital Management, was equally blunt.
“We never like to see a company buy something for $3 billion when a few months ago it was worth about $1 billion [based on the valuation when private investors bought a piece of the company in September]. We wonder whether this is an appropriate use of shareholder cash.”
Most acknowledged that Apple needed to develop its streaming music business and sign content deals for TV, and that Beats Music and Iovine would help, but didn’t see the partnership as a game-changer.
“Streaming music is a way more interesting space to dominate compared to big ass headphones but buying Beats isn’t going to get Apple there,” said Josh Stewart, portfolio manager of the Wasatch World Innovators Fund.
Benedict Evans, partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, agreed.
“Iovine joining Apple can’t hurt. But this won’t make the difference between unbundling HBO from a typical pay TV package and not being able to do it. People in Hollywood do not give deals to people because they like them and know them.”
It will be interesting to see whether these views change once we get a good sense of what Apple has planned.