The popular headphone maker Beats is reportedly attempting to buy back HTC's 25 percent stake in the company. The news comes from a Wall Street Journal report that cites "people familiar with the matter" as claiming Beats is looking to bring in a new investor to provide "fresh funds for growth," and plans on buying back HTC's stake at the same time. Although HTC bought a $300 million, 50.1 percent stake in Beats back in 2011, the headphone maker paid $150 million to take half of that stake back last year.
A tale of two companies
The two companies have had dramatically different fortunes over the past few years. Although both are in buoyant segments of the market, Beats' revenue was reportedly "roughly $1 billion" last year, up five-fold from 2010, and in June statisticians at NPD claimed Beats had 59 percent of the US market for premium headphones. In contrast, HTC has crashed to quarter upon quarter of dwindling profits, although the company believes it will return to form towards the end of this financial year. All of HTC's high-end handsets are branded with the Beats logo and claim to have enhanced sound thanks to Beats integration. It's not immediately clear what would happen to the two companies' branding partnership should Beats be successful in severing its financial ties with HTC.