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Apple and Spotify Discussing An Acquisition?

According to the latest rumor published by Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch, Apple and European-based music streaming service Spotify might be in the very early stages of discussing an acquisition.

“Apple, Inc. (AAPL) in negotiations to acquire Spotify,” read the tip that came in yesterday via email from an anonymous source. Most tips are just outright false, but we dug into this one a little bit.

Here’s what we heard – Apple and Spotify are in on again, off again discussions about an acquisition, but at best it’s very early in the process. No firm price has been offered, no term sheet tabled. Still, it’s interesting that the two are talking.

Earlier this month both CNET and the New York Post reported that Apple was working on a cloud-based version of iTunes and that they were trying to convince US music labels to ignore Spotify’s streaming offerings.

But multiple music industry sources say that Spotify, which is now in discussions with all four big record companies, is facing an assortment of obstacles–some of its own making, and some from external forces

Apple executives have expressed concern to the labels that a free music service here could undercut already lackluster download sales.

Since Apple posted its Q4 financial results and Jobs said “one or more strategic opportunities will present themselves”, many rumors have been floating around about Apple willing to acquire Facebook, Walt Disney and Sony.

We’d take this new report with a grain of salt.

UPDATE: A Spotify spokesperson told CNET the company was never in talks with Apple about a possible acquisition:

Jim Butcher, Spotify’s spokesman, said acquisitions discussions with Apple have never taken place.

Butcher added that “We wouldn’t normally comment on this kind of speculation, but we wanted to make it clear that we have absolutely no intention of selling Spotify.

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