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RIM Shares Tank: BlackBerry Maker Hires JPMorgan, RBC For Strategic Review

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RIM RESULTS Q4 EARNINGS REVENUE PROFITS
Trading in shares of Research In Motion were halted on the NASDAQ Tuesday as the company announced it is hiring banking giants JPMorgan and RBC to advise it on where the struggling BlackBerry maker should be headed. | RIM

UPDATE: Research In Motion shares are headed for another rough day when markets open, following the company's announcement that it expects significant layoffs and an operating loss due to weak BlackBerry sales.

The shares are down more than seven per cent in pre-open trading.

WATERLOO, Ont. - Research In Motion says it has hired two outside firms to advise on the BlackBerry-maker's troubled business and financial performance.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based company said Tuesday that both J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and RBC Capital Markets have been brought on board as it expects to face an operating loss in the first quarter.

"The ongoing competitive environment is impacting our business in the form of lower volumes and highly competitive pricing dynamics in the marketplace," chief executive Thorsten Heins said in a release.

"We expect our Q1 results to reflect this, and likely result in an operating loss for the quarter."

The announcement came after the close of markets. RIM ended Tuesday nine cents higher to $11.48 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

In after-hours trading on the Nasdaq, RIM shares were down 12 per cent, or $1.33, to US$9.90.

The company has been undergoing major changes to its executive team in recent weeks as various key players exited their roles.

Several reports have suggested RIM will cut at least 2,000 jobs at its operations around globe as part of a massive restructuring.

RIM has declined to comment. The cuts would follow a move last year to cut roughly 2,000 jobs.

The company has about 16,500 employees.

On Monday, RIM announced that its chief legal officer, Karima Bawa, is retiring. That news followed the departure last week of Patrick Spence, the BlackBerry maker's head of global sales.

Earlier this month, the company said it was bringing in two veterans from the mobile computing industry.

Kristian Tear, who joined RIM from Sony Mobile Communications where he was executive vice-president, is the new chief operating officer, while Frank Boulben, the former executive vice-president of strategy, marketing and sales for LightSquared, joined as chief marketing officer.

Changes in the senior leadership at RIM follow the appointment of Heins as RIM's president and chief executive earlier this year. Heins replaced co-chief executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis after months of pressure from shareholders.

RIM has been working to turn around its operations after watching its marketshare be taken away by Apple's iPhone and other smartphones running Google's Android operating system.

The BlackBerry 10 platform is seen as an important part of RIM's attempt to compete when it is released in the coming months.

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