The whole HTC/Beats Audio affair has been laughable, quite frankly, but the Taiwanese manufacturer might soon be put out of its misery.
Story goes that Dr Dre & Co are flirting with another investor, and that they hope to buy out HTC’s remaining 25% stake.
Back in 2011, former HTC CFO Winston Yung figured $300 million for a majority 50.1% stake in Beats Audio was a barg, and later found himself sidelined.
That came shortly after HTC backtracking on its promise to throw in a pair of Beats Audio headphones with its smartphones. Brilliant.
More recently, in a “realignment of their business agreement", HTC’s share in Beats Audio dropped to just 25%.
While Beats Audio has enjoyed ridiculous success with its outrageously expensive headphones ($1 billion in revenue last year, anyone?), HTC continues to struggle.
According to The Wall Street Journal, which in turn credits “people familiar with the matter”, Beats Audio is courting “fresh funds for growth” from an unspecified investor.
As HTC desperately tries to reverse its ailing fortunes, Beats Audio is tipped to move beyond headphones, into speakers and possibly some sort of music streaming service.
It’s not clear what the buyout would mean for HTC smartphones. Will we still see the Beats Audio logo on the back? Does anyone care?