HTC may announce Thursday it's going to spend $500M to acquire a 51% stake in Beats Electronics, the company behind Beats By Dr. Dre. Beats will operate independently and its audio technology will land in HTC's handsets. [CNET and AllThingsD]

Update: And here's HTC's press release confirming the partnership and new phones coming this Fall.

Strategic HTC investment to result in Beats-integrated HTC phones this fall

TAOYUAN, Taiwan and SANTA MONICA, Calif., Aug. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — HTC Corp., a global designer of mobile devices, today announced a strategic partnership and investment with Beats™ Electronics LLC., the company redefining the audio market with its iconic Beats by Dr. Dre™ audio experience. The two fast-growing brands will focus on bringing high performance sound to HTC phones.

"The HTC and Beats by Dr. Dre partnership is an opportunity for two world-class companies to redefine the smartphone industry and define the future," said Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Beats by Dr. Dre and chairman and CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M Records, which is a division of Universal Music Group and a stakeholder in Beats. "For Beats by Dr. Dre, this represents a critical step in our continued mission to clean up the destruction of audio caused by the digital revolution and reengineer how sound is delivered, so the consumer feels the music the way that the artist intended."

HTC and Beats have been working together to create superior mobile audio experiences for consumers, which will result in a line of HTC devices integrated with Beats sound innovations, available this fall.

"Beats has found a unique way to harness popular culture in a manner that is unlike any other brand today," said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corp. "It's an exciting brand that has been built around providing something very special, and we believe our strategic partnership will provide customers with unbeatable sound on HTC phones. We obsess over every detail of a consumer's mobile experience, and audio is a critical part of that experience."

HTC is known for unifying content, services and devices into unique mobile experiences. And Beats is known for its unique consumer brand appeal and ability to reproduce the full spectrum of sound captured in professional recording studios, allowing consumers to hear music the way the artist intended. Bringing these two great brands together will create superior mobile music and sound experiences while accelerating HTC's entry into the youth and accessories markets globally.

Beats Electronics will continue to operate autonomously - with Iovine as chairman and Luke Wood as president and chief operating officer - with its current business partnerships, including Monster Cable Products Inc., HP and Chrysler Group LLC. Iovine also will continue serving as chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M Records.

"Our customers have clearly responded to Beats and HTC, and Best Buy is proud to feature their products in our stores," said Brian J. Dunn, CEO, Best Buy. "We are committed to offering innovative and entertaining technologies that help consumers enhance their lives. Our customers expect that from us. The unique HTC Sense experience and the great sound of Beats provide prime examples of that focus."