An investor group headed by Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik is providing $60 million in financing to Beats Electronics LLC, the company co-founded by music mogul Jimmy Iovine and legendary record producer Dr. Dre that has announced plans to launch a music subscription service later this year.
The investment includes money from Fort Worth, Texas, billionaire Lee M. Bass and Australian investor James Packer, Beats said in a statement.
The financing is a boost for Beats, which announced in January it would create a premium music-streaming service it dubbed "Daisy", and signed Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor as chief creative officer.
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook, whose company is widely believed to be planning its own music subscription service, met in late February in Los Angeles with Iovine to discuss "Daisy," according to three people with knowledge of the meeting.
Apple's Internet products chief, Eddy Cue, a key player in setting up its iTunes Music Store, also joined the meeting, at which Cook expressed interest in Daisy's business model and its rollout plans, although the two did not discuss specifics of a deal, the sources told Reuters exclusively.
Blavatnik, who is making the Beats investment through his Access Industries industrial group, paid $3.3 billion in 2011 to acquire Warner Music Group. His company also has holdings in chemicals, real estate and technology.
"Beats has the vision, the brand, the management team and now the investor group to effectively change the expectations and experience of a music subscription service," Blavatnik said in a statement.
(Reporting By Ronald Grover; Editing by Ken Wills)