Beats Audio buys back stake from mobile partner HTC

HTC and Beats Audio aren't calling their partnership quits. However, Beats has bought back half of HTC's shares in the company to give itself a 75 per cent ownership instead of a 50/50 split with HTC.

The move should allow HTC to keep a bit more change in its coffers; according to Slashgear's Chris Davies, HTC's 50 per cent investment initially cost HTC around $300 million (£193 million) when first announced in August of last year. Beats' buyback allegedly cost the company $150 million (£97 million).

As a result of HTC partially jumping out, Beats has now secured "more flexibility for global expansion," according to a statement made by both companies this weekend. However, HTC will continue to hold a, "major stake and commercial exclusivity in mobile," which means that you shouldn't expect to see Beats Audio technology accompanying any of the smartphones built by HTC's rivals.

HTC's partnership with Beats initially had Beats bundling its special, red-corded earphones alongside HTC smartphones. However, that practice ended around April of this year, as HTC realised that average smartphone shoppers don't seem to care all that much about the earphones that ship with their phone.

"An accessory like the headphone doesn't factor in when someone is buying a smartphone," said Martin Fichter, HTC product executive, in an interview with CNET at the time. "If they want a Beats headphone, they'll buy it directly."

The two companies will continue to work together to stuff Beats Audio technology into future HTC phones, and they're even going to be working on a joint marketing campaign later in 2012.

Beats picked up MOG, a music streaming service, for around $14 million (£9 million) earlier this month. It remains to be seen just how the new terms of HTC and Beats' partnership might factor into Beats' – and HTC's – plans for incorporating the service into the company's smartphones.

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