Blackberry could lay off up to 40 percent of staff - WSJ

Reuters
BlackBerry Chief Executive Thorsten Heins speaks at the company's annual meeting in Waterloo
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BlackBerry Chief Executive Thorsten Heins speaks at the company's annual meeting in Waterloo, Ontario July 9, 2013. REUTERS/Jon Blacker

TORONTO (Reuters) - Blackberry Ltd is preparing to make deep cut to its workforce by the end of the year that could lead to slashing the company's headcount by up to 40 percent, the Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The layoffs will be across the board and likely occur in waves, the newspaper reported.

Blackberry, which once dominated the corporate smartphone arena, last month said it was considered an outright sale of the company as it reviews its options. It has struggled in recent years to stanch rapid market share losses to rivals like Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

BlackBerry, which has already laid off hundreds of employees this year and previously warned that further job cuts were in the offing, declined to comment on the report or the magnitude of the reported layoffs. It employed 12,700 people as of March.

"We will not comment on rumours and speculation," BlackBerry spokesman Adam Emery said. "We are in the second phase of our transformation plan. Organizational moves will continue to occur to ensure we have the right people in the right roles to drive new opportunities."

The report comes the same day the Canadian company introduced the Z30, a top-of-the-line smartphone intended to help the former industry pioneer wrestle its way back into the intensely competitive smartphone market.

But investors have grown increasingly nervous about Blackberry's future as its market position crumbles. The company has been facing persistently lacklustre sales of devices that run on the BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Shares in the company slid 1.5 percent in Toronto to C$10.72, and fell almost 1 percent to $10.45 on the Nasdaq in the afternoon.

(Reporting by Euan Rocha; Additional reporting by Edwin Chan; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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