updated 09:07 pm EDT, Wed June 11, 2014
Basketball star, Samsung pitchman owns fractional share of Beats
Unbeknowst to many, another minority-stake owner in Beats Electronics may be seeing a healthy payday when the Apple acquisition of the headphone, accessory and music service company goes through: basketball star and Samsung pitchman LeBron James. The Miami Heat star struck a deal back in 2008 to acquire a small stake in Beats in exchange for promoting its high-end headphones, ESPN reports, and could see a profit of more than $30 million in cash and stock according to sources.
The deal would be one of the biggest equity cash payouts for a professional athlete in history, and with Apple's stock poised for growth over the next few years, the deal may end up paying off handsomely for James, depending on how much of the payout is made up of stock in the iPhone maker. James will turn 30 in December of this year.
It's unclear exactly what percentage James holds of Beats, or whether his stake also encompasses Beats Music. Apple ending up paying $2.5 billion for Beats Electronics, with only $500 million added in for the Beats Music service. Overall, it is the largest acquisition ever handled by Apple, greatly surpassing even the $900 million it paid for NeXT and to bring co-founder Steve Jobs back into the fold in 1996.
Apple is thought to have greatly overpaid for the companies, particularly Beats Music, but the buyout could yield handsome dividends if Apple can leverage legendary music producer and former label head Jimmy Iovine and the savvy performer and producer Dr. Dre's talents to gain additional music and video content deals, as well as help the company's executive team determine future directions and marketing of its media products. The money involved may be a lot for the bare assets, but could prove to be a shrewd investment in talent and credibility with the youth demographic.