BUSINESS

BlackBerry lays off another 300 employees at Waterloo headquarters

10/29/2013 12:35 EDT | Updated 12/29/2013 05:12 EST
TORONTO - Another round of layoffs at BlackBerry's headquarters in Waterloo, Ont., will trim its staff by 300 employees, as part of a broader cost-cutting plan.

The smartphone maker said Tuesday the latest job cuts are included in an announcement from September when the company pledged to reduce its workforce by 40 per cent or about 4,500 people.

"We are in a period of transition and we must focus on enhancing our financial results to be in a better position to compete in this current mobile environment," company spokeswoman Rebecca Freiburger said in an email.

"We recognize our local employees' hard work on behalf of our company and the difficulty of this news."

BlackBerry (TSX:BB) has said it expects to face costs of at least US$400 million before the end of May 2014. The expenses are tied to the severance payments for the layoffs, as well as reworking its smartphone lineup and other changes to its manufacturing, sales and marketing operations.

In September, BlackBerry received a conditional takeover offer from Fairfax Financial (TSX:FFH), its largest shareholder, worth $9 per share. The conditional offer values the company at $4.7 billion.

Other interested buyers are also circling the company, according to reports from various media outlets. The tech names run the gamut from Google, Cisco and SAP, to Microsoft and Cisco.

Meanwhile, BlackBerry is also experiencing a resurgence in the popularity of its BlackBerry Messenger application, commonly called BBM.

The company said about 20 million users have downloaded the free app since it launched for Apple's iPhone and devices using the Android operating system last week. Within the first 24 hours of its release, the app had been downloaded 10 million times, the company said.

BlackBerry wants to turn BBM into a revenue generator for the company through advertising partnerships.

Shares of BlackBerry closed ahead 22 cents at $8.77 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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