Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp has sold 25 percent of its holding in audio technology firm Beats Electronics back to Beats’ founders, but said it will continue to work closely with the maker of high-end headphones and speakers.
HTC bought 51 percent of Beats Electronics, which was founded by U.S. rapper and music producer Dr. Dre and Beats’ current CEO Jimmy Iovine, for $309 million in August last year, a move to fend off rising competition and enhance its products and branding.
In a weekend statement to the Taiwan stock exchange, HTC said it will remain Beats’ largest shareholder with 25 percent, with Beats’ founders holding 75 percent. It did not disclose the pricing of the deal.
The share sale “provides Beats with more flexibility for global expansion while maintaining HTC’s major stake and commercial exclusivity in mobile,” the statement said.
HTC’s profit more than halved in the second quarter, with the company struggling to regain market share lost to Samsung and Apple Inc.