The phone maker HTC and its Beats Audio division (think Dr. Dre headphones) are close to wrapping up a deal to acquire the troubled music subscription service MOG. See also HTC One X review.
A music tech industry source close to the situation says the parties have agreed on a price in the $17 million range, and are now working out the final details of the sale.
The deal makes complete sense to both Beats and MOG. Beats has aspirations of offering an online music service, but lacks the expertise and intellectual property to build such a service. MOG has those things. With MOG under its roof, Beats could roll out a new music service in three or four months, where building a new service from scratch would take around 18 months, our sources say.
Oddly, HTC may not benefit from the deal. While HTC bought a controlling interest in Beats last year for $300, Beats operates as a separate business unit and makes its own business decisions, presumably with some input and oversight from HTC.
One source says that Beats wants to offer a MOG-powered audio service for resale by mobile carriers and other handset makers too. HTC could choose pre-load the service on its handsets, but may choose to offer its own music service at some time in the future.
We'll have more on this story as information becomes available.