Apple is closing in on a deal to buy headphone manufacturer Beats Electronics for $3.2bn (£1.88bn), it has been reported.It would be the company’s largest ever acquisition and could be announced as early as next week.

Beats has been a runaway success since its launch by rapper Dr Dre and music producer Jimmy Iovine in 2008.

The Apple deal, reported by the FT on Thursday, would mark a change of direction for Apple. Founder Steve Jobs was notoriously reuctant to run down the company’s substantial cash holdings.