The deal, which would mark Apple’s largest acquisition, could be announced as soon as this week, said the Financial Times.
Apple is looking to buy Beats’ audio equipment business and its recently launched music streaming service.
Some details have yet to be agreed and talks could still fall apart, said the report.
Private equity major Carlyle could get a hefty return from the deal after investing $500m in Beats last year at a valuation of $1bn, or less than a third of what Apple is reportedly willing to pay for the company.
Legendary rapper Dr Dre and music mogul Jimmy Iovine founded Beats in 2008 as a backlash to what they considered was poor sound quality from cheap headphones bundled with MP3 players, laptops and other portable devices.
Beats currently holds a share of over 60 per cent in the market for $100-plus premium headphones in North America.
Last month Carlyle revealed that the value of its private equity funds surged eight per cent in the first quarter.
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