Last year’s HTC investment in Beats Audio was one of the biggest moves we have seen the Taiwanese manufacturer make. Bundling Beats Audio software along with some of the best headphones in the market had music junkies jamming. This was until HTC decided to stop bundling Beats headphones with new devices, signaling the first step back in this joint effort. These companies now find themselves taking steps into separate directions, as Beats purchases chunk of shares back from HTC.
What the companies are calling a “realignment” seems more like a slow transition to independence. This purchase is meant to “provide Beats with more flexibility for global expansion,” something it could not do when HTC owned about 50% of its shares.
Beats has purchased 25% of its total shares for $150 million. This leaves HTC with about 25% of ownership and Beats founders with about 75%.
Both companies have agreed to keep the Beats/HTC exclusivity alive in the mobile market. Without high-quality headphones being bundled, though, neither company will have a huge advantage in this department. We must remember that Beats Audio in smartphones is pretty much a very good equalizer and sound-improvement software. We could find similar offerings in the Google Play Store and simply purchase some high-end headphones.