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Beats buys back 25% share from HTC, but stays in its phones

HTC has sold back some shares to Beats, but remains the biggest outside shareholder.

Beats -- the company behind the Beats by Dre range of headphones -- has bought back 25 per cent of its shares from HTC for $150 million. The Taiwanese phone manufacturer ploughed $300 million into Beatslast year, which at the time made it the majority shareholder.

It still leaves HTC as the largest single external shareholder, owning around 25 per cent of the company, The Next Web reports. The audio tech will remain present in HTC's phones too -- and seeing as it'll stay the exclusive mobile partner, no one else will see the tech on their handsets. So why the deal?

Well HTC and Beats describe it as a "realignment", providing Beats "with more flexibility for global expansion while maintaining HTC's major stake and commercial exclusivity in mobile." But the two companies will "continue to work closely, including a joint global marketing campaign later this year."

There were already signs that things weren't going swimmingly with the partnership, with HTC rumoured to be dissatisfied. HTC's Martin Fichter told our sister site CNET that "an accessory like the headphone doesn't factor in when someone is buying a smart phone." Under the deal, HTC bundled Beats headphones with its handsets, though that stopped being the case in April of this year.

It's good news though that Beats tech will continue to add bass to HTC smart phones. Mobiles like the Sensation XE sounded great in our tests, and the tech found its way into doozies like the One S and One X as well.

A likely reason for the split is that Beats didn't want to be tied too closely to HTC. With the Taiwanese company posting less impressive earnings of late, it's no surprise Beats would rather be free to do its own thing.

What do you think of the deal? Do you think Beats enhances a smart phone? And do headphones come into it when you're choosing a new mobile? Let me know in the comments, or over on Facebook.