HTC has sold back half of its shares in Beats Audio, the popular headphone manufacture, barely a year after it acquired a controlling stake in the company.
Back in 2011, HTC bought up 50 per cent of Beats Audio – the audio equipment manufacturer established by hip-hop superstar Dr Dre. Under the agreement, HTC handsets such as the HTC Sensation XE came with high-end Beats Audio ear buds and enhanced audio settings.
This approach had changed in recent times, with the likes of the HTC One X coming with the audio enhancements and prominent Beats Audio branding but not the earbuds. It became apparent that most customers didn’t consider superior earphones as a major selling point in their choice of smartphone.
We could have told them that most people were oblivious to the merits of a decent set of ‘buds for nothing – just look at the number of people still using bog-standard Apple earphones while out and about.
The 25 per cent Beats Audio has bought back off HTC gives it a majority 75 per cent share overall. The press release outlining this new move claims that it “provides Beats with more flexibility for global expansion.” Despite this change in circumstances, HTC continues to hold the largest stake of any external company, and HTC phones will continue to have exclusive rights to Beats Audio equipment.
Despite disappointing smartphone sales, HTC insists that “HTC and Beats have made great progress in sound innovation, product integration and brand awareness,” and reveals that the two companies will launch “a joint global marketing campaign later this year.”