Drop that Beats: TeliaSonera takes 7% stake in audio accessory company Zound for $4.5 million

As Apple (reportedly) gears up to finalize a multi-billion dollar deal to buy audio equipment maker Beats, Nordic mobile network operator TeliaSonera this morning announced an agreement to buy a stake in a nimble rival: Stockholm, Sweden-based Zound Industries.

According to The Wall Street Journal reporter Sven Grundberg, TeliaSonera bought itself a 7% stake in the Swedish startup for $4.5 million. That gives it a _slightly_ lower valuation than Beats, but hey.

Zound markets electronic audio accessory brands Urbanears, Marshall, Coloud and Molami.

The marketing partnership that comes with the investment agreement is said to enable TeliaSonera to "bundle fashionable in-ear and on-ear phones, headphones, loud speakers and high-fashion cases for mobile devices, together with appealing mobile telecommunications subscriptions" and gives it access to Zound's network of designers, brands and artists.

The deal is the perfect opportunity for us to reach out to the fashion\-conscious mobile device consumer. We can already see a number of exciting opportunities for the future, combining the strengths from both our companies. Zound Industries has seen strong growth in the past few years and with the TeliaSonera partnership we expect the growth rate to increase even further.

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